In 2010, Highfields technical staff began design work with a team at Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, Vermont, to develop a highly integrated, biologically mediated, waste management, renewable energy, and nutrient recovery system for their dairy and cheese making operations.
How it works:
When manure comes out of barn it is mechanically separated between liquids and solids. The solids are incorporated into an aerated static compost system, which will produce approximately 800 cubic yards of finished compost per year. Waste heat from the compost pile is captured through a heat recovery system, which will generate
an estimated 350 Million BTUs in the form of hot water, and another 165 Million BTUs in the form of hot air per year. Whey from the cheese house will be blended with manure liquids and then goes into an anaerobic digester, which will be warmed with heat recovered from the compost piles through a heat exchange system. Methane produced by the anaerobic digester will be used to heat wash water for the cheese house.
Used wash water, along with processed digestate fluids, is filtered through an Advanced Botanical System, designed by EcoSolutions, in the greenhouse for waste water treatment. The greenhouse will also be heated with heat captured from the compost pile as well as passive solar heating. This treated water will be used to irrigate pastures and an orchard. Compost will be used to amend the soils in the pastures and orchard as well. Animals will benefit from the crops from the fields and will return those nutrients and energy to the system in the form of milk, manure, and whey.
This project is being funded by the farm as well as the USDA National Resource Conservation Service, Northern Community Investment Corporation, USDA Rural Development, and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets. This innovative project will serve as a highly visible and replicable model for waste management on farms and at food processing facilities.