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Avoid Downtime in Methane Digesters for Dairy Operations

5 Minute read

The onset of “LCFS” Low Carbon Fuel Credits spiked demand for power created from the Dairy Industry in the form of Methane Digester Systems as a Distributed Energy Resource, or DER. Low Carbon Energy Credits, which are derived by having a low carbon impact in the production of the power created, can be purchased by large Power Conglomerates to offset the high carbon impact is systems like drilling or fracking for natural gas. Dairy Farm Methane Digester Systems in operation all over the country now can not only produce valuable resource at a premium, but also satisfy demand for these High-Value LCFS Credits on the West Coast. As the trend continues for State, Municipal, and general Government Mandates, and incentives for a cleaner, carbon neutral supply, these Digester farms, Solar, and Wind Farms will likely see an increase in price demand per kW.

High Dollar Digester Natural Gas to West Coast Instead of Electricity

As Methane Digester production was introduced a couple of decades ago, it was a process framed at converting the by-product of Dairy Farms manure supply into a usable form of gas that could be burned in a very local gas generator and alternator producing power which would assist in running operations at the farm, and if efficient enough, sell some of the power back to the utility. The incentive on the value of that power was minimal other than the direct benefits of creating a kW out of something you would otherwise spread on a field. As the digester systems have become more evolved and efficient the natural gas by-product of the process can be directly loaded into a distribution truck, taken, and contributed into a pipeline, and shipped to a western state. A Dairy and Digester Farm in WI can now efficiently sell LCFS creditable power units to a larger gas and petroleum supplier to offset otherwise high carbon production. This is why there is a demand premium put on the digester produced gas.

Points of Interconnection POI for Methane Digesters

Whereas the Point of Interconnection of a Solar Grid may consist of connecting to a substation at various voltages, integrating it’s power capacity at that point in the power grid, then having the local utility manage the distribution of that power. The new ability for natural gas to be produced in states far away by a methane digester and trucked over to a distribution pipeline and connected into a regional pipeline for distribution, opens up a whole opportunity for interconnected clean power. The space needed to operate facilities such as widespread Dairy Operations, the requirement for feed stock, and the proper environment for the cows requires vast and variable resources. This gives a very different look to the future of Methane Digestor processing and the Dairy Industry of the future.   

Process Interruptions and Voltage Stabilization in Methane Digester Processes

For proper execution of the digester process, the voltage supporting the processing equipment, pumps, boards, and equipment must have good stable voltage. This really has nothing to do with the output product of the digester, but what electrical supply is available for use at the site. Usually this is a rural farm environment without the most reliable voltage. Because of the relationship between a change in voltage and changes in amperage used by equipment. Any drop or sag in voltage will derive a direct and offsetting spike in amperage. Vice versa, a surge in voltage will provide a direct offsetting sag in amperage used by the equipment it is supporting. All of this means that the equipment using the imperfect voltage at these sites gets a pretty harsh environment to operate.

Solutions to Methane Digester Process Interruptions

The maintenance budget to operate a Methane Digester is a direct influence on its output and success. If control boards to the operating systems are constantly burning out due to stray voltage problems, this is easily correctible. If a shut down is directly attributed to a sag or interruption in power, this also is easily correctible. Many digester farms have backup generator systems to make sure that the processes do not ever stop. This does not, however, correct the ever-variable voltages that happen in an operation with pumps and large equipment cycling on and off. Voltage Stabilization and Correction Systems can be installed at point of controls, or around the entire process electrical supply to thwart off these damaging effects.

Prepare for Voltage Issues with Industrial Clean Power.

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