A new report suggests building more anaerobic digesters in New York could cut the state’s methane emissions by 15%.
“It’s great to see more voices added to the growing chorus promoting the benefits of anaerobic digesters,” says Steve Dvorak, president and founder of DVO.
“We’ve been designing and building digesters in New York for 15 years and look forward to helping more New York dairy farmers do their part to further reduce the state’s methane emissions.”
Anaerobic digesters a ‘recognized strategy’
According to the report, published by biomethane policy non-governmental organization (NGO) Energy Vision, methane accounts for 39% of New York’s overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Furthermore, 34% of New York’s methane emissions come from organic waste.
“Using anaerobic digesters is the one recognized strategy for capturing the methane-rich biogas from organic waste,” the report reads.
“In the agricultural sector, building ~260 new anaerobic digesters could cut methane from dairy manure by 56.5%.”
Adding digesters focused on processing other organic food waste and major wastewater plants brings the total number of digesters recommended in the report to roughly 300, capable of cutting New York’s methane emissions by 15%.
RNG to displace 320 million gallons of diesel
The report estimates building that many digesters would create up to 8,000 jobs and attract around $3.4 billion in federal and private investment capital. The digesters would also generate enough net carbon-negative renewable natural gas (RNG) to displace 320 million gallons of diesel annually.
“To achieve New York’s climate goals, we need to make use of all of the forms of renewable energy available to us,” New York State Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner said in a statement.
“This useful report [shows we can] leverage existing waste streams [as] an alternative energy source.”
DVO: a proven leader in NY dairy digesters
According to data from the US EPA’s Agstar Database, 32 of New York’s roughly 200 currently operating digesters are located on or near dairy farms across the state.
Eight of the anaerobic digesters operating or under construction at New York dairies were designed and/or built by DVO. Together, they can reduce emissions by around 140,000 MTCO2e/yr – accounting for more than a third of the total emissions reduction attributed to the state’s dairy-based digesters, according to the most recent figures available from the EPA.
The most recent DVO-designed digester to start operations in New York is at family-owned Allen Farms, located near Scipio Center in the Finger Lakes region. Since coming online in 2023, the digester now enables the operation to produce up to 105,000 MMBTU of methane per year.
“We’re proud of the impact we’ve already made helping New York dairy farmers reduce their emissions while at the same time providing them with another income stream from the net carbon-negative RNG produced by our digesters,” says Dvorak.
“As home to the nation’s fifth largest dairy herd, New York has even more potential to reap the benefits of expanding anaerobic digestion to even more dairies, and we stand ready to heed the call.”