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Oregon's Stahlbush Island Farms Launches Biogas Plant

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by Staff Writers
Corvallis OR (SPX) Jul 21, 2009
Stahlbush Island Farms has begun full operations of the first-of-its-kind Biogas Plant in North America. The power plant will provide enough electricity for approximately 1,100 homes, nearly twice what the farm and food processing plant uses in a year. The 10 million dollar project took fourteen months to complete and is operated by Stahlbush Island Farms.

The cutting edge Biogas plant supports Stahlbush Island Farms' goal of minimizing its carbon footprint and gaining energy independence through the creation of a renewable, on-farm energy source.

A recent innovation in the United States, and most commonly associated with dairy operations, anaerobic digesters have been creating green energy in Europe for decades.

This is the first plant in North America, built with state-of-the-art engineering and design techniques for the purpose of creating biogas from fruit and vegetable by-product.

The technology for creating biogas from organic matter is well-proven. Simply put, organic material, (in this case, fruit and vegetable matter) when placed in anaerobic conditions in large mixed tanks, produces biogas. The methane-rich biogas is used to fuel a combined heat and power (CHP) system (a process also known as "co-generation").

This method of energy conversion has very little energy loss and is thus highly efficient. Thermal energy and electrical energy are produced at the same time - an ideal situation for food production, which requires both.

The Energy Trust of Oregon, and the Oregon State and Federal governments provided incentives for the project. Without this financial assistance, the project would not have been possible.

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