Anaerobic Digestion is a controlled process by which organic materials (those with plant and animal origins) are transformed by organisms that thrive in an environment without oxygen. The process produces a nutrient rich soil amendment and biogas, a methane-rich gas which is used as a renewable replacement for natural gas. Casella Organics is committed to expansion of this technology to expand recycling options for organic materials. We collect food processing byproducts and other feedstock for anaerobic digestion, operate digesters and market fertilizer products derived from digestion.
Casella Organics operates the first anaerobic co-digester in Massachusetts at Jordan’s Dairy Farm in Rutland, Massachusetts, co-digesting dairy manure produced by the host farm and food residuals (commonly known as ‘source separated organics’ or ‘SSO’) diverted from food processors. This material arrives at the site in closed containers and is loaded into the process without exposure to air – from there the material spends approximately thirty days in-process before being removed and stored as a stabilized fertilizer product. This liquid product is then used during the growing season by Jordan Dairy Farms and their neighbors as a low-strength, recycled liquid fertilizer, replacing both synthetic fertilizer products and traditional raw manure spreading.
The biogas produced during the stabilization of the in-process material is used to power a small combined heat and power unit, or CHP unit, consisting of an engine and a generator which provides electricity and heat to the farm’s buildings. Surplus electricity is distributed through the power grid. Our customers who recycle food residuals at the digester may also qualify for credits on their utility bill generated from the surplus renewable power we produce.
We are always looking for more “stuff” to recycle at our Rutland anaerobic digester, especially high-strength liquid food residuals. If you believe you have some material appropriate for this type of recycling, or you would like assistance operating your own anaerobic digester or sourcing feedstock for the digester, please contact us.