Unit 5.1: Capital Requirements, Operating and Maintenance Costs

Background and Guiding Questions

This first unit discusses the capital requirements for installing a dairy farm anaerobic digester (AD), how the capital cost is likely to vary with herd size and the ancillary components included, what is happening to construction costs over time, tips on obtaining financing, and some of the grants and subsidies available to help defray the cost of an AD.  The main operating and maintenance cost items are also discussed in this unit.

Guiding Questions

  • What is the average capital cost per dairy cow for the three main digester designs, and how much will that cost vary with herd size and items included?
  • What is involved in applying for grants such as the USDA’s “Rural Energy for America Program” (REAP) program?
  • How much does it cost to keep a digester running over time?

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