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From Swine Waste to... Energy? Storms Farm Anaerobic Digester

Storms Farm Anaerobic Digester

anaerobic digester

You know, there's nothing we appreciate more than true innovation- surprising but elegant solutions to problems both old and new, implemented with efficient design by passionate individuals... that is humanity at its finest.

Which is why we are so excited and proud of this recent project that we shot for Barnhill Contracting of an ingenious machine they built at Storms Farm in Bladenboro, NC. Take a look at the above photos. It may seem like you are just looking at a bunch of clunky agricultural equipment. But this machine is the beautiful result of a quest for a workable solution to two problems faced by modern farmers.

1. How can we lower our energy costs?

2. What are we going to do with all this hog waste???

Believe it or not, the answer to both of these plaguing challenges is embodied in the machine you see in the above photos. It's called an anaerobic digester, and it actually turns swine manure into electric energy.

Without getting into too much technical detail, it basically works like this: Manure collected daily from nearly 30,000 hogs is mixed with other agricultural waste and biologically decomposed in a huge, oxygen-free, reinforced concrete vessel. The bacteria in the digester break down the waste, eliminate the odor and pathogens, and produce an energy-rich biogas. The gas is then combusted in an engine/generator, producing enough electricity to offset the energy expenditures of around 300 average sized homes. Revenue from the sale of this renewable energy helps to support the farm's operations.

In addition to solving problems for farmers, this technology also presents another unique option for the modern challenge we all face of obtaining energy without resorting to costly, non-renewable sources. And on top of all that, it is a wonderful step toward eliminating the pollution to waterways that has been attributed to large-scale agricultural operations.

Of course, the good folks at Barnhill didn't invent the process (anaerobic digestion is a natural process as old as time, and is responsible for such delights as kimchi and sauerkraut), but the machine in question is the result of eight years of development. And Storms Farm is the first commercial farm in North Carolina to implement a swine waste to energy solution.

We applaud Barnhill and Storms Farm for helping to pioneer this high-potential innovation in renewable energy, and thank them for letting us play a very small role in the process. Check out the entire gallery here.

And if you are a pioneer, an innovator, or just an entrepreneur excited about your location or product, we would love to assist you in your marketing efforts by providing you with superior-quality photographic images! Contact us here to tell us about your project.