VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire) - The BC Bioenergy Network ("BCBN"), a provincially-funded, industry led network supporting the growing bioenergy sector in British Columbia, announced today $240,000 grant funding to the Bakerview EcoDairy ("EcoDairy") to establish the first commercial demonstration site in BC for on-farm anaerobic digestion ("AD") and nutrient extraction for small to medium sized dairy herds.

The project is part of the EcoDairy's demonstration agritourism farm in Abbotsford, BC. The facility will provide the public and dairy farmers in BC with an understanding of the anaerobic digestion process and how it can benefit all stakeholders in the agricultural industry.

"This is an excellent example of an economic and environmentally sustainable way to convert agricultural waste into valuable energy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Blair Lekstrom, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. "This demonstration project has the potential to be replicated at the many smaller-scale dairy farms across the province to generate clean energy to power their agricultural operations."

"This project moves us closer to finding a model for small-scale agricultural anaerobic digestion that can be used by farmers across B.C.," said Steve Thomson, Minister of Agriculture and Lands. "ArdCorp, the Anaerobic Digestion Initiative Advisory Committee, and the B.C. Agriculture and Food Climate Action Initiative have been particularly instrumental in helping our agriculture industry develop innovative practices, such as anaerobic digestion, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

"Anaerobic Digestion, by processing animal waste and then creating energy and other by-products has been proven to enhance environmental practices, improve nutrient management and diverse revenues," said Michael Weedon, Executive Director of the BC Bioenergy Network. "This project is one of the first in North America to demonstrate on-farm small scale anaerobic digestion and if successfully demonstrated will provide enormous benefits to BC's agricultural industry."

"Securing this grant was an important milestone for us as it is a key component of the Bakerview EcoDairy, allowing us to reduce methane output while generating clean energy (electricity and heat). Our goal is to complete construction and commission the system by September, 2010," said Bill Vanderkooi, CEO, Nutriva Group and President of Bakerview EcoDairy, a division of the Nutriva Group.

The AD system will be supplied by Avatar Energy out of Vermont. Avatar has designed a novel, scalable and modular system for smaller farms (100-600 cows). Over a 21 day period, the AD system takes the cows manure, heats it and collects methane gas (biogas). The biogas is then used by a generator to create electricity to power the EcoDairy's robot milker, Learning Center, and Nutrifoods Market. Heat is also generated and used both on site and to maintain the AD system. The system is equipped with a unique trickling filter system, which helps to convert ammonia to nitrate and cost effectively removes NPK from the liquid effluent. Byproducts of the system are a soft fiber for the cow's bedding and a condensed liquid organic fertilizer.

"BC Hydro is pleased to offer additional funding to the Bakerview EcoDairy to explore how anaerobic digestion at a residential farm can create energy," said BC Hydro Deputy CEO, Bev Van Ruyven. "Projects such as the EcoDairy demonstrate that creative solutions can result in a 'win-win' for both our customers and BC Hydro by complimenting our existing portfolio of clean energy sources."

About the BC Bioenergy Network

Established in April 2008 with a $25 million grant from the BC government, the BC Bioenergy Network is an industry-led association that acts as a catalyst for deploying near-term bioenergy technologies and organizing mission-driven research for the development and demonstration of sustainable to build a world class bioenergy capability in BC. For more information about the BCBN, visit

About The Nutriva Group (Bakerview EcoDairy Ltd.)

The Nutriva Group is a multi-faceted, innovative group of agri-businesses located in Abbotsford, BC. The Group focuses on developing and managing whole food value chains that begin with progressive, environmentally responsible farm practices and end with functional food products that embody natural nutrition innovation to improve the health and well-being of Canadians.

The Nutriva Group consists of three main business units that include Nutritech, Bakerview and Nutrifoods. The Bakerview EcoDairy is home to, an eco-friendly demonstration dairy farm, animal exhibits, Vitala cows and chickens, the Nutrifoods Farm Market, Bradner Milk Transport, Diverse Byproducts, and the Nutriva Group offices.