Off Grid Carbon Neutral Living at Interpretative Centre in Heron Wood

The Laforge Holstein plant is a biomass system set on 400 hectares (1000 acres) of land that uses organic materials such as potato peels, fries, pizza dough and tomato sauce, mixed with manure and chicken grease residue for biodigestion (anaerobic decomposition).

The Biodigester!

The system has 2 mixing tanks that hold the organic material: tank 1 is used as an energy source and tank 2 is used as a protein source. These tanks are linked to the biodigester using a regular feeding schedule run by a computer program that is linked to all the machinery.

Computer program used to measure and monitor all biodigestion activity

The ideal pumping ratio of organic material or feed to capture gas and minimize wastage is 4 m3 every hour for tank 1 and 8 m3 every 2 hours for tank 2. The biodigester has an agitator to encourage movement of materials and the creation of gas. The leftover liquid from the biodigester seeps into a holding tank or lagoon which is later used as fertilizer.

Through the digestion process methane is released by bacteria and captured. The gas is then piped to the generator where it is burned for electricity generation.

Engine receiving methane from digester to contain it as energy

This installation makes economic sense because the biomass is obtained free of charge. In the case of McCain’s, the company also saves money in transportation costs for their waste.

At the same time, the dairy cows on the farm provide 2200 L of milk per day, which is sold to the Northumberland and Baxter dairy farms. The cow manure is used to speed up the decomposition process in the biodigester tank due to the presence of bacteria.

They expect the system to pay for itself in 10 years.

HeronWood Welcome Sign

The owner has a vision of educating as many people as possible on environmental issues specifically to do with energy issues and energy independence. The owner is demonstrating that comfortable carbon neutral off-grid living is possible.

The owner strongly recommends three things before going off-grid:

  1. Inform yourself beforehand of all aspects of this lifestyle.
  2. Prepare to make lifestyle changes to accommodate the new way of living.
  3. Finally make sure to shop around and get quotes from different companies for the equipment and the installations.

The owner makes use of solar and biomass energy by having an array of photovoltaic solar panels that provide electricity, to cover all of his electrical needs, and a traditional cook stove to cook all of his meals, which also serves to heat his water through a series of copper coils attached to the woodstove. The water is the cycled through the copper tubes to a hot water storage tank.

Along with the biomass water heater he has four domestic hot water solar collectors to preheat the water in the learning center, and house.

The learning center is another building that is entirely separate from his house. It is a large facility and so it requires a significant amount of electricity to run it. The has done much of the work for himself and if not himself he has helped the groups who have had to come in for installation. There is a hot water stove demonstration installed in the interpretative center, which is spaciously layed out so that visitors can have a closer look at how the system functions.

Contact us directly to schedule your visit

No admission/entrance fees: experience off-grid, carbon neutral living without compromise.

781 East Branch Road
South Branch NB E4W 2K8

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