Bellingham produces electricity from manure digester

A $3.9 million anaerobic digester on the north end of Bob Hall Road will start turning cow manure into electricity in November.

Known as Farm Power Lynden, the project will be the second anaerobic digester in Whatcom County.

The digester, located west of Lynden, will take manure from more than 2,000 dairy cows in Whatcom County, trap methane gas from 1.5 million gallons of manure decomposing in a tank, and burn the gas to generate enough electricity to power 500 homes.

Puget Sound Energy will buy the electricity.

The company behind the project is Mount Vernon-based Farm Power Northwest, which already has a commercial digester near Rexville in Skagit County. That digester began generating electricity Aug. 30, 2009.

Whatcom County's first digester - the first in Washington state - opened at Darryl Vander Haak's dairy farm near Lynden in 2004.

The new Farm Power project was made possible by more than $3.9 million in federal money - through a combination of grants and loans.

A $1.06 million chunk came from a grant made up of federal stimulus dollars funneled through the Washington state Department of Commerce.

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