Environmental Links Recommended by Don Ross, Century 21 Lanthorn R. E. Ltd. Salesperson, and Accreditied Green Agent in NAGAB:

County Sustainability Group

Quinte Sustainability

Note: The opinions expressed on this website are those of the author. It is best to gather information from several sources before making a decision to purchase rural property, and this website does not purport to discuss all the issues that might arise. This information is provided on a "use at your own risk" basis and the author assumes no liability for subsequent use of the information provided here.



You will see a lot of green fields and natural landscapes in the country, but this doesn't mean that there isn't a need to be concerned about environmental issues. I am especially pleased to provide you with this published article about a farming family in our area that is making a difference in protecting the environment. They also happen to be the good folks who rent my farm land and keep it in good shape, both for now and for future generations.

The article that follows was written by Richard Turtle of EMC (Expanded Media Coverage), a local community newspaper, and it was published on August 14, 2009. The article is republished here with the permission of the author and the newspaper.


Soon to be part of the power generation process, cattle at Donnandale farms are oblivious to the silo where methane gas will be produced to fuel a pair of generators. The system is expected to be in full operation in the fall of 2009.
Photo: Richard Turtle

By Richard Turtle

STIRLING- The cattle at Donnandale Farms will soon become more than simply milk producers.

Thanks to a new power generation system installed at the farm over the past 12 months, cattle manure will be the main ingredient used to produce the methane gas that will soon fuel a pair of 250 kW generators.

Crews from Hydro One and Tal Trees were there in early August taking some of the final steps before the system goes online. The farm, owned and operated by Keith and Marjorie Donnan along with sons Mark and Shawn and their families, is among the first in the province to generate power using an agricultural manure anaerobic digester.

Mark Donnan explains that their farm is now home to the first complete system installed by Powerbase Energy Systems, a Carleton Place-based operation offering equipment and expertise for small hydro power generators. And while there are only a few other systems in Ontario, they are quite common in Europe where a significant amount of energy is is produced by various types of smaller power plants.

"It's environmentally friendly and sustainable," says Donnan, adding the green approach to power production has other benefits as well.

Methane gas is produced when manure is stored at 40 degrees Celsius in a vertical silo for approximately a month where microbes break down the manure and, at the same time, release methane gas which is contained under pressure at the top of the silo.

Manure is pumped into the bottom of the silo and after the process, is taken off the top to be spread on the fields. One of the added benefits, Donnan says, is that any seeds in the manure are no longer viable, thereby eliminating it as a potential source of weeds.

Tal Trees workers Kris Salteski (l) and Coleton Cooney were some of the workers on site at Donnandale Farms recently. The silo in the background will soon be producing methane gas to power a pair of 250 kW generators.

As well, 95 percent of all pathogens are killed in the process, and associated odours are drastically reduced.

But the beneficial side effects won't end there, Donnan says, Restaurant waste otherwise destined for landfill sites is also used in the process. Pasteurized restaurant grease and trap waste are added to the manure as a catalyst to accelerate the process, "and that's all diverted from landfill."

Hopefully the system will be in full operation by mid-fall, Donnan explains the power generated won't be directly used by the farm. Instead , power goes straight onto the grid "and we buy back our requirements as needed."

Ultimately, the electricity that is expected to be generated by the sytem (500 Kw) would be enough to power about 500 homes. And the twin generators used will be burning 95% methane generated on site with the remainder being diesel fuel required for ignition.

And the Ontario government is behind the project as well. Last fall provincial officials were at the farm to announce that Donnandale was one of nearly 50 successful applicants with projects approved as part of the Ontario Biogas Financial Assistance Program.

"Innovative new technologies like biogas enable farmers to strengthen their bottom line and help the environment," said Leona Dombrowsky, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "Using biogas to generate heat and electricity on the farm is a prime example of possibilities that can be realized when we support innovation."

Partial funding of costs incurred during feasibility, construction and implementation (up to $400,000) is available to successful applicants, with total funds committed to the project amounting to $11.2 million.

*** end of article ***

Open House Pictures

Photos taken at the open house held for family, friends and neighbours at Donnandale on Saturday, September 26th, 2009 are available here.



Copyright, Bob Foster, 2015