Vanguard Renewables, Wellesley, Massachusetts, began construction of a new project, which represents a unique partnership between a Vermont college, a local dairy farm and a renewable energy company.
Vanguard owns and operates an anaerobic digestion facility on Goodrich Farm, Salisbury, Vermont, which processes organics and farm waste into renewable natural gas (RNG). The company is taking its Farm Powered project a step further with a partnership that will supply power to a local college.
Vanguard has selected Kinsley Energy Systems to supply an 800-kilowatt combined heat and power (CHP) system to power a new RNG production facility on the farm, according to a news release. The RNG produced from food and farm waste will provide 50 percent of the heating and cooling to Middlebury College in support of its plan to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2028. The project broke ground in August and Kinsley will install the system in mid-2020, the company says.
In addition, waste heat from the CHP process will be used to heat the digesters, maintaining the bacteria at ideal conditions for consuming waste material and producing methane. The remaining solids will be used on the farm as an organic fertilizer.
The project will offer a new sustainable source of energy in Vermont and will divert tons of organics from the landfill. The project will also help food producers and consumers in Vermont comply with Vermont's Universal Recycling law, which will ban all food waste from landfills in 2020.
Regulatory food waste bans is what inspired the formation of Vanguard's farm-based organics recycling project. Vanguard’s Farm Powered portfolio includes anaerobic digestion facilities located on farms across the Northeast United States. The projects not only process organics and farm waste, but provides RNG to local companies and now institutions. The company is in the process of developing several anaerobic digestion facilities across multiple states.