State Leaders Celebrate Opening of Anaerobic Digester in Haverhill

Mayor James J. Fiorentini, Vanguard Chairman and CEO John Hanselman, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center CEO Stephen Pike, Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson and other supporters of the Crescent Farm anaerobic digester celebrate its completion. (WHAV News photograph.)

A local farm officially opened an organic waste to energy operation at a ceremony involving its biggest supporters and benefactors on Friday.

Crescent Farm hosted the ceremony at 1058 Boston Road. What is known as an anaerobic digester was built by Vanguard Renewables of Wellesley. It takes energy created from waste and converts it into fuel for a generator on the farm capable of producing one megawatt of energy for Haverhill. This particular digester also accepts waste from Cedar’s Mediterranean Foods, Cabot Creamery and Whole Foods. The project has been under construction since August 2017.

At the head of the ceremony was Massachusetts Clean Energy Center CEO Stephen Pike. Pike, whose group granted $500,000 to Vanguard to fund the project, said while farming in New England is not getting easier, this project improves the process by avoiding the use of fossil fuels and promoting renewable energy. He also thanked the owners of the farm, Mike and Debby Davidowicz, and mentioned how great it was to see the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center working together with the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Agricultural Resources, and the Department of Energy Resources on this project. Pike said “this project will hopefully go a long way towards continuing this farm.”

Vanguard Chairman and CEO John Hanselman spoke at the event, saying his company was ready to make a real impact on Massachusetts. Vanguard already plans on opening a fifth digester in Spencer and Hanselman says his company has learned a lot since they first began producing these digesters. He says that Vanguard expects to be processing 500 tons of food waste and 120 tons of manure daily in Massachusetts by the end of the year.

Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson said this project will continue to advance the state’s goal of making a clean, resilient future for the Commonwealth. She also said it was great to see a machine that produces both clean electricity and clean heating.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini thanked the neighbors in the area for their support of the project, while also commending the project as another method of keeping Haverhill clean and green.

Mike Davidowicz said he is very excited to see the digester begin to benefit Crescent Farm. He said that the energy provided by the project would be enough to power 800 homes in Haverhill.