Even Waste Isn't Wasted

Making biogas at the College Farm

Making biogas at the College Farm.

by Tony Moore; video by Joe O'Neill

At the Dickinson College Farm, plant and animal waste is turned into biogas

Creating burnable fuel from waste matter—in eras gone by, it would have been thought of as alchemy, some kind of weird magic. Now, imagining that process might conjure images of massive, high-tech power plants pumping liquids through endless pipes and compressors and machines until the final product filled barrels on an assembly line.

As it turns out, there’s a middle ground. Matt Steiman, production manager, calls the Dickinson College Farm’s biogas system a “low-tech, simplified format where we can make gas from farm waste and use that gas without going with a million-dollar engineered system.”

The gas produced is used for cooking at the farmhouse and in the intern quarters, and it’s one more step in the farm’s efforts to completely offset fossil fuel consumption on the farm.

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Published June 22, 2015