Dixon Ridge Farms outside of Sacramento, California is generating electricity with vaporized walnut shells. Their machine uses “flash pyrolysis” technology to create biogas out of the shells which are then burned in a converted propane generator that produces enough electricity to power a 12,000-square-foot storage refrigerator, Sacramento Business Journal reports.
The 50-megawatt BioMax generator was provided by Community Power Corp and cuts about $45,000 from the farm’s $250,000 energy costs. The system has been running well for about a year, and plans are in the making to buy another one with double the energy output.
Dixon Ridge’s owner, Russ Lester, wants to be 100 percent energy self-sufficient by 2012.
But an oddity in the law prevents Lester from tying his biomass generator into the PG&E grid – because the farm also produces solar power. The California Energy Commission, however, funded the BioMax installation with the understanding that it would get tied to the grid.