|Vermont Technical College Mission Statement|
Vermont Tech is an integral and unique institution within the State of Vermont and the Vermont State Colleges offering career-focused, technical education in specialized areas of study related to agriculture, applied sciences, business, engineering, health sciences and sustainability. The college offers bachelor’s and associate’s degrees, certificates, and continuing education.
Central Vermont Recovered Biomass Facility (CVRBF)
Vermont Technical College is building an Anaerobic Digester (AD) at its Randolph Center campus. This project is consistent with the College’s mission and supports key components of Vermont Tech’s recently released strategic plan. The project, which is called the Central Vermont Recovered Biomass Facility (CVRBF), will: offer a working model of a technology that is emerging as a solution to challenges in the fields of agriculture and sustainability; assist the college in its efforts towards financial sustainability; enhance its reputation as a cutting-edge leader in applied education; and, support the physical plant goal of implementing state-of-the-art technology.
What is an Anaerobic Digester?
Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a natural biological process used by ruminant animals like cattle to extract energy from food. Our (CVRBF) - a farm-based AD facility - will use the same natural biological process to produce electricity plus heat from the materials (or feedstock) being mixed into it. While the “recipe” for the CVRBF may vary slightly over time, the basic ingredients will always be the same. At least 51% of the feedstock will come from a combination of farm manure and crops. The rest of the feedstock will be a mix of food processing waste and/or scraps.
The CVRBF will produce an end product that is called digestate. The digestate is composed of a liquid portion and a solid portion. The solids are separated from the liquid in the solid separator. The remaining liquid digestate can be used as fertilizer on farm fields and the solids used as bedding or they can be composted.
What are the benefits to the region?
This may be a relatively new technology for the state, but it is not a new concept. Farm manure is presently being used to generate heat and electricity on some Vermont farms. Food processing waste and scraps are being used to generate energy in Europe and Canada. In rural areas these materials can be combined, resulting in higher amounts of energy production. Simply put, they are not “waste” products; they are resources.
• Food processing waste and scraps will be part of the mix needed to generate energy, and the remaining material resulting from the digestion process can be used to bed dairy cows or it can be composted – two end products from the same input.
• The energy produced will reduce dependence on non-renewable sources of energy – a benefit consistent with the State of Vermont’s newly adopted energy plan.
• By managing food processing waste/scraps plus manure (resources) in this way, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, regional air and water quality are improved, and current landfill capacity is extended.
• The CVRBF can serve as an educational facility and a model for other facilities that could be located elsewhere.
Where will the CVRBF be located?
The CVRBF meets the state definition and specifications of a farm-based digester and is a facility that produces combined heat and power. Its location has been strategically chosen to reflect both of these attributes. It will be constructed near the campus central heating plant, where it affords ease of operation in transferring power to Vermont’s electric grid as well as heat to the campus, and it is co-located with the farm fields on the main campus.
Who is involved with this project?
Vermont Tech and the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund are partners in the planning and construction phase of this project, and have been integrally involved in it since 2007.
The Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District conceived of the CVRBF in 2004 and with the assistance of the Vermont Environmental Consortium championed the vision for it. Support from Senator Patrick Leahy and a U.S. Department of Energy grant led to an initial feasibility study that showed promising results.
When will it be built?
Vermont Tech will begin the permitting process in summer 2012. Construction is dependent upon permitting, but is expected to be complete in 2013.
What will the CVRBF look like?
The facility will have a metal-clad exterior that reflects a familiar farm-building feel, as it appears to be a squat version of a silo. The exterior will be painted green.
How will the facility impact the Randolph Center community?
• It is anticipated that one truck per day may deliver material to the CVRBF.If I have questions about the CVRBF, who will answer them?
• Residual products from the AD process will be used to bed cows and fertilize fields. Dependence on petroleum-based fertilizers will be reduced.
• A comprehensive nutrient management plan is being prepared that assures protection of ground and surface waters and prevents over-fertilization.
Please contact Donna Barlow Casey at DCasey2@vtc.edu or 802-728-1719. An information area and computer station is located in the Hartness Library on the Randolph Center Vermont Tech campus.
CVRBF Community Anaerobic Digester presentation
VTC Wants to Be Part of the Energy Solution
Randolph Herald | August 2008
Vermont Tech Chooses Interim President
Randolph Herald | June 2010
Our Farms, Our Food: Vermont Tech’s Digester
Randolph Herald | March 2011
Next Growth at Vermont Tech
Randolph Herald | August 2011
VTC Seeks Permits for On-Campus Methane Digester
Randolph Herald | November 2011
Sustainability Education Hub – Right Here in Randolph
Green Energy Times| May 2012