By Isaac Bonnell
Whatcom County’s second manure digester broke ground June 28 at 8421 Bob Hall Road in Lynden.
The $3.9 million project will take the manure from 2,000 nearby dairy cows and use the methane extracted from the manure to produce about 6 million killowatt-hours of electricity per year, enough to power 500 homes.
What makes this project unique is that heat from the generator will be captured and used to heat four acres of greenhouses owned by Van Wingerden’s Greenhouses, said Kevin Maas, co-owner of Farm Power. In return, Farm Power has an affordable lease on 2.5 acres of land next to the greenhouses.
Heating greenhouses is very expensive and has kept the Van Wingerdens from expanding, Mike Van Wingerden said in a 2009 BBJ article. Partnering with Farm Power reduces the cost of operating the greenhouses and allows the company to build a larger project than was previously possible.
The digester project is funded by $1.5 million in state and federal grants and a $2.4 million loan from Shorebank Pacific. Construction of the project is expected to take six months, Maas said.
For more information, call Farm Power at (360) 424-4519 or visit www.farmpower.com.