Producing clean energy is a vital need in today’s world and especially in Maine where more than 60% of households are reliant on oil to heat their homes in winter. N.S. Giles partnered with Peaks Renewables – a subsidiary of Summit Utilities, Inc. – Flood Brothers Farm, and Regenis Digester Construction to build Maine’s first natural gas dairy digester. Seven buildings were constructed at Flood Brothers Farm in Clinton, Maine resulting in a facility that will recycle manure from six local dairy farms to generate pipeline-quality renewable natural gas (RNG). Peaks Renewables is also partnering with the United States Department of Energy to become the first facility in the country to use captured carbon from the dairy digester combined with green hydrogen to create pipeline-quality methane. This groundbreaking project has the potential to move Maine towards energy independence while reducing emissions and supporting Maine’s dairy farmers.
Conscious of the clear benefits for Mainers, N.S. Giles made the project their focal point, committing the majority of their manpower and equipment to get it done efficiently and safely. With a strict timeline and a tight site, N.S. Giles built the concrete foundation – placing slabs totaling 3,042.50 yards of concrete and 180.75 tons of rebar – with two cranes and two pump trucks often working simultaneously. Setting the precast concrete planks was a particular challenge that required attention to detail and collaboration. N.S. Giles partnered with Keeley Crane to ensure each of the 135 planks were delivered in accordance with the plank erection sequence, a process that was based on the weight distribution, crane capacity, and crane reach. Working together, the team used four crane sets to complete this technically challenging task. In the end, N.S. Giles turned over a finished product 50 days ahead of schedule, enabling Peaks Renewables to get the digester up and running the following year as desired.
“By recycling manure from area dairy farms, the Peaks Renewables digester is anticipated to produce approximately 130,000 MMBtu of natural gas annually, which Summit Natural Gas of Maine will supply to warm Mainer’s homes and fuel businesses throughout the state. It is estimated that the facility will also remove 28,000 MT/CO2e annually, or the equivalent of taking 6,500 cars off the road.”
COMMUNITY, ENVIRONMENT & INNOVATION
The Peaks Renewables project directly impacts thousands across the state of Maine by producing clean energy, helping local farms adapt to a changing economy, and removing carbon dioxide from the environment. The facility includes a digester that uses organic matter to create clean energy for the state and reduce carbon emissions. By recycling manure from area dairy farms, the Peaks Renewables digester is anticipated to produce approximately 130,000 MMBtu of natural gas annually, which Summit Natural Gas of Maine will supply to warm Mainer’s homes and fuel businesses throughout the state. It is estimated that the facility will also remove 28,000 MT/CO2e annually, or the equivalent of taking 6,500 cars off the road. For the local economy, six dairy farms, including Flood Brother Farm, Gold Top Farm, Somerset Farm, Wright Place Farm, Taylor Dairy Farm, and Heifer Haven Farm will provide manure for the digester, with the opportunity for other local farms to contribute in the future as well. It’s estimated that the digester will then produce enough gas to supply 45% of Maine’s residential natural gas customers. After the manure is used to produce renewable energy, the remaining product will be used for animal bedding and fertilizer. This unique project is the first of its kind in Maine, and one of only a few projects like it in the country.
The accelerated timeline and constricted site presented challenges. The project proposal also included a few tasks that were outside the traditional scope of work for N.S. Giles. To complete the work effectively, the team partnered with other local companies including, McGee Construction, Auburn Concrete, Keeley Crane, Concrete Craftsmen, J.M. Brown Construction, and Bill Dixon Rebar. To address the challenge of moving equipment around the tight site, N.S. Giles utilized two of their 80-ton cranes to move panels, which eliminated a safety risk for employees and prevented rough terrain from forming, making the site easier for forklifts to navigate in slippery conditions.
N.S. Giles worked a total of 9,816 safe man hours with zero incidents or injuries. The site included the erection of sixteen-foot concrete walls, which required a site specific fall protection plan, a site specific rescue plan, and proper training for all team members. With spring weather bringing its typical rain and mud, N.S. Giles elected to use their Rollgliss R550, which uses a pulley system to safely raise or lower team members.
To see the project video – https://youtu.be/bOZMunuCE7A
Owner: Peaks Renewables
Engineer/Architect: Regenis Digester Construction
Construction Manager: N.S. Giles
Shane Giles – President
James Jordan – Operations Manager
Justin Boggs – Project Manager
Chris Levesque – Superintendent
Darius Parker – Foreman
Andy Hartley – Project Coordinator
Eric Savage – Field Engineer
Chris Dumont – Crane Operator
David Gile – Concrete Craftsmen
J.M. Brown Construction
Keeley Crane Service
J.M. Brown Construction
Bill Dixon Rebar