By Thomas Content
A $7 million waste-to-energy manure digester will be built at Rosendale Dairy in Pickett, in a collaboration between the dairy, renewable energy firms and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.The project, kicked off Tuesday, consists of a large biodigester energy facility, learning laboratory and a public education center at Milk Source's Rosendale Dairy, the state's largest dairy farm with more than 8,000 cows, located in Fond du Lac County.
The project is being funded by the UW-Oshkosh Foundation in support of the climate emission targets and sustainability education efforts in place at the university.
The digester, to be completed by the end of the year, will use methane from livestock waste to produce electricity that will be sold to the electric power grid through an arrangement with Madison-based Alliant Energy Corp.The digester is expected to generate 1.4 megawatts of electricity, or enough to supply about 1,200 typical homes, according to BIOFerm Energy Systems of Madison, which is overseeing the project.
UW-Oshkosh plans to tap carbon credits from the renewable power generated at the site to help it fulfill its climate change emission reduction commitment."The campus hopes to also use it go help us greatly accelerate our carbon neutrality goal, which was 2025," said Alex Hummel, UW-Oshkosh spokesman. "Early estimates from when we were sizing up the collaboration show we could reduce that to about 2017 or 2018."
UW-Oshkosh and BIOFerm opened a first-of-its-kind dry fermentation digester, about one-seventh the size of this project, in 2011. The digester converts food waste and yard waste to energy.
Partners in the project include BIOFerm and its Germany-based parent company, Viessmann Group, as well as Alliant Energy and Madison-based Soil Net.BIOFerm also is the developer of a third area project, a small family-farm-scaled digester that is currently in the pilot stage that also processes livestock waste.