Fueling Vermont Through Cow Power

New Process Can Convert Farm-Waste into Renewable Biofuels

Charlotte, VT - In Environmental Matters, fueling Vermont through moo power?

A Vermont based bio-chemical research group found a way to convert farm-waste into biofuels.  The same animals that bring us our cheese and milk, could be heating our homes and fueling our vehicles.

“The best way to capture the excess nutrients that are created on the farms, is to never let them get beyond the boundaries of the farmstead,” said Clark Hinsdale, owner of Nordic Farms.  Nordic Farms in charlotte is one 300 cow farmstead making that happen.   

GSR Solutions, a Burlington based bio-chemical company, found a way to turn farm-waste, including manure, into fuel.  “The process is capable of producing 100 thousand pounds of fertilizer, and also 20 thousand to 30 gallons of biofuel,” said Anju Dahiya, Director of GSR.

GSR researchers have identified a special strain of algae that can convert farm-waste nutrients including nitrogen and phosphorous, into biofuels including heating oil, bio-diesel and jet fuel.  “It’s very, very important to have the right kind of algae we're looking for, that can grow in the farm environment and be able to produce fuel,” added Dahiya.

GSR has installed their algae system at Nordic Farms as part of a pilot-program.  The hope is to take the process nationwide and beyond.  Manure is collected and sent into digesters, found on most farms, where it's broken down.  Those elements are fed to the algae, which converts it into the biofuels.

The goal is to not only create renewable fuels, but also reduce the amount of waste-water runoff, to better protect Vermont lakes and waterways.  Good news for environmentalists, and good news Vermont homeowners.  “We know that bio-heat, renewable blended fuel, combined with heating oil works in customers tanks and burners, so if we can source that locally, it would be a great thing for Vermont's economy, for Vermont famers, Vermont fuel dealers and consumers all across Vermont,” stated Matt Cota, Director of the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association.

GSR leaders say their algae system could also be used with food-waste materials, so there's opportunity for restaurants, even breweries, to adopt the process.

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