Rockwood Farm is significant in multiple ways. It was our first project, so it will always be our oldest. Rockwood was also our first facility to be upgraded with a food waste depackager that separates organic from inorganic materials – itself a first in Western Massachusetts. Since the depackager was added, this project has been producing more biogas than expected. Therefore, Rockwood likely will become the first anaerobic digester to which we add a second engine that would enable us to nearly double its energy output.
June 2019 — anaerobic digester
January 2020 — food waste depackager
Ag-Grid Energy partnered with Rockwood Farm to form two special-purpose entities: Rockwood Ag-Grid to operate an anaerobic digester, and Rockwood Ag-Grid Organics to operate a food waste depackager.
Rockwood was funded through member equity, NRCS EQIP grant, MassCEC Organics to Energy Program grant, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources ACRE grant, Eversource Energy Efficiency grant and Live Oak Bank loan guaranteed by the SBA. The depackager also received a Recycle Business Development grant from the state and was funded by Massachusetts BDC bank.
Rockwood Farm is owned by Richard C. and Mary Woodger. Their son Doug, who works the farm with his father, is a partner in Rockwood Ag-Grid. Son Dan, who is managing the waste to energy system, is a partner in Rockwood Ag-Grid Organics as well. The project has five full-time employees.
- FOOD WASTE – The depackager processes up to 100 tons per day of packaged and solid food waste. Packaging materials, such as cardboard, are recycled. The organic food waste is fed into the digester. Liquid food waste brought to the facility goes directly into the digester. We added a slurry storage tank to allow storage of food waste per requirements of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. The total amount of food waste used is 8,000 gallons per day.
- MANURE – The digester recycles 40-50 tons of cow manure per day.
- ENERGY – The digester’s 450 kW engine generates 3.5 million kW hours of clean, renewable energy per year.
About the Farm
With 700 cows, Rockwood is the second largest dairy farm in Massachusetts.
Impact on the Community and the Environment
Town of Granville is our host municipality, as we receive net metering credits from public institutions. In addition, 11 municipalities in western Massachusetts are participating in net metering credits generated by Rockwood Ag-Grid. Local food producers have a trusted disposal site for recycling waste.
The renewable electricity from this project supports 600 electric vehicles on the road and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from those vehicles.
What Our Farm Partner Says
By partnering with Ag-Grid Energy, Rockwood Farm was given the ability to continue operating and experience growth. The Anaerobic Digester comes with some challenges, but the economic growth has made the partnership a positive return.
What the Ag-Grid Team Says
Ag-Grid Energy is proud to have had its very first operating anaerobic digester at Rockwood Farm. The Woodger family was the first to believe in our mission and partner with us. The support for dairy digester projects from MassCEC and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with their net-metering program was essential. The Ag-Grid Energy team will be forever indebted to Rockwood Farm for providing us a platform to launch our company.