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Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund

Grantee: Borderview Research Farm

Grantee: Borderview Research Farm

Borderview Farm: Biofuel Production Research Facility

Grantee: Roger Rainville, Jared Rainville
Location: Alburgh, Vermont; Grand Isle County
Crops: Sunflowers (conventional)

Project Description: Having sold his dairy herd several years ago and entering into semi-retirement, Roger Rainville began experimenting with small, farm-scale biodiesel production on his farm in northern Vermont which literally hugs the Canadian border. Over the past 4 years, Roger's realized his enjoyment in helping Dr. Heather Darby with field trials and has turned his farm into an applied research facility specializing in oilseed crops, perennial grasses, and bio-based renewable energy R&D projects relevant to small farms. Borderview Farm leases a number of acres to University of Vermont (UVM) Extension for various oilseed crop field trials, including soy, sunflower, canola, and camelina. Roger also actively assists as a research partner by preparing, seeding, and harvesting the plots, then pressing the oilseeds for conversion into biodiesel and livestock meal.

The small-scale biodiesel production facility, started in 2008, now houses two presses to test oil extraction and processing efficiencies. Roger gathers a range of data and conducts demonstrations so that area farmers can evaluate first-hand the pros and cons of the different models, then learn how to make and test high quality, homegrown fuel. 

Educational field days at Borderview Farm have been held by Dr. Darby and Roger Rainville for the past 5 summers with increasing numbers of participants each year — with over 130 participants in 2010. These field days have provided opportunities for farmers from all over Vermont and New England to come and learn about oilseed crops. The long-range goal is to hold a number of workshops each year on how to economically grow, harvest, clean, dry, and efficiently process oilseed crops for biodiesel production for on-farm use.

In 2005-2007, Borderview Farm was awarded $25,000 for technical assistance in the form of a safety review and engineering study of proposed biodiesel production facility. In 2008-2010, Borderview Farm was awarded $40,000 toward the purchase of equipment and supplies to advance the research farm’s sustainable oilseed to biodiesel projects. The budgeted funds were directed toward the purchase of biodiesel production equipment (including tanks, pumps, valves, plumbing, safety and control equipment) and supplies necessary for the process of biodiesel production and testing quality (including titration and lab equipment, safety equipment & personal protective equipment). For 2011-2013, $50,000 has been awarded to improve the operational capacity and efficiency of the oilseed and biodiesel processing research center in Grand Isle County, including oilseed conveyance, drying, cleaning and storage infrastructure, and fuel quality.

Reports & Studies: