Long-discussed manure digester to be built on Enumclaw farm

Editor's note: the building of a manure digester, which turns cattle waste into electricity and other byproducts, has been talked about for at least a decade. Now, it is turning to reality. The following is a fact sheet issued to The Courier-Herald Monday. A formal groundbreaking ceremony is planned at the farm site for Dec. 12 and it is anticipated the project will be complete by spring 2012. A full story will appear on this website later in the week and will be printed in the Dec. 7 edition of The Courier-Herald.

Fact Sheet

Enumclaw Dairy Manure Digestion and Energy Recovery Project

Objective:This project will reduce the burden of manure management for at least three family-­‐owned dairies while producing renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions and protecting water quality in the Green and White River watersheds.

Participants: The project will be owned and operated by Rainier Biogas LLC. Rainier Biogas is a partnership between Farm Power LLC and the Ritter Dairy. Farm Power is a locally-­‐owned company that has constructed-­‐-­‐and is now operating-­‐-­‐two dairy digesters in the state of Washington and has one dairy digester under construction in the state of Oregon. Other participants include neighboring dairy farms, King County, Puget Sound Energy, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington State Department of Commerce, USDA Rural Development, Native Energy, One Pacific Coast Bank and Washington State University.

King County’s Role:This project is the culmination of King County’s decade-­‐old vision to bring manure processing and energy production to the dairy farms of the Enumclaw Plateau. In 2007, after several years of consultation with dairy owners and other interested parties, King County’s Department of Natural Resources was awarded a $492,000 congressionally-­‐directed grant(sponsored by Sen. Cantwell and Rep. Reichert) for the installation of a manure digester/energy recovery facility. Shortly thereafter, the Department of Natural Resources conducted a solicitation process and selected Rainier Biogas as the project developer. The Department of Natural Resources subsequently secured a $160,000 federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant for the project.

Location: The digester, energy recovery and nutrient management facilities will be located on the Ritter Dairy, west of Enumclaw. Manure will be piped or trucked to the digester by at least three local dairies including the Ritter Dairy (facility is designed to manage manure from up to five dairies).

Project Benefits:The participating dairies will benefit from lower manure management costs, and reduced odor potential, as well as destruction of manure pathogens and weed seeds. By separating digested fiber from the processed manure, the project will also create a local supply of cow bedding that will reduce the farms’ dependence on increasingly scarce sawdust. Rainier Biogaswill generate revenue to cover financing and operating costs through the sale of renewable electricity. Electricity production will be enhanced by importation of organic matter (e.g. food waste) to the digester. The environment will benefit from the production of a renewable source of electric power and a reduction in greenhouse gasses. The project will also demonstrate a first-­‐of-­‐its-­‐kind nutrient management system developed by Washington State University.

Net Renewable EnergyProduction: 800 kW (7,000,000 kWh/year – enough to power 600 homes)

Greenhouse Gas Reduction:9000 tons CO2e (equivalent to removing 2,200 cars from the road)

Project Construction Cost: $4 million



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