Hillcrest Saylor Farm ProjectHB

NativeEnergy helped the Saylor family install an anaerobic methane digester on their dairy farm.

Carbon Project Type: Farm Methane Power
Location: Rockwood, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Volume: 31,878 metric tons
Capacity: 130 kW

Four generations of the Saylor family have developed the Hillcrest Saylor Dairy Farm in Rockwood, Pennsylvania, about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh. Richard Saylor and sons, Sam and Shawn, now operate the farm, which was founded in 1910 when Sam’s and Shawn’s great grandfather milked five cows.

The family currently milks 600 cows, farms more than 1500 acres, and employs more than 20 people. The Saylors have worked closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve their soil conservation practices and manure handling techniques. They provide annual educational tours to Boy Scout groups, school tours, teachers, elderly groups, and other farmers. Their highest aspiration is to be a farm of the future, producing high quality food while also generating renewable energy from waste and employing environmentally friendly practices.

Shortly after the startup of the farm’s new high-efficiency milking facilities in 2002, Shawn Saylor began investigating the use of an anaerobic digester to improve their manure management system and control operating costs. In January 2003, NativeEnergy offered an upfront purchase of the RECs and other carbon offsets to help fund the project. With this proposal in hand as a significant part of their required matching funds, the Saylor’s were able to secure an Energy Harvest grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Shawn began his own digester design in late 2004, and construction started in 2006.

Sustainable Development Benefits

The Hillcrest Saylor anaerobic digester powers a 130 kW engine-generator, which provides power for all farm operations and helps control energy costs. The Saylors also sell surplus generic electricity to their power provider. The digester is greatly reducing manure odor and pathogens and creating a safer organic fertilizer to apply to their fields. The separated solids from the digested manure are so low in harmful bacteria that the Saylor’s have improved animal health by using the solids for bedding material for the cows in place of purchasing wood shavings.

Project Participants

This project is a collaborative effort between the Saylor family and NativeEnergy.

Validation and Verification

This project was validated using Climate Neutral Network methodologies. The project’s performance is third-party verified bi-annually.

Financial Additionality

This project meets NativeEnergy’s stringent additionality criteria, as our funding was necessary to the project’s implementation.