Rosendale Dairy’s University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh funded biodigester is predicted to supply 1,200 homes with electricity. Read Tom Content’s article to learn how the BIOFerm headed project will help the University achieve it’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2025.
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.
From a news release issued by Honeywell:
MINNEAPOLIS, April 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Honeywell (NYSE:HON – News) today announced it has completed the company’s first energy-efficient building upgrades at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), which will save the school an estimated $620,000 in annual energy costs. The work is part of a multi-phase, $21.7-million energy conservation and infrastructure renewal program that will improve comfort and efficiency in university facilities while cutting utility costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
All the improvements UWM has asked Honeywell to make are expected to reduce energy and operating expenses by $30.8 million over the next two decades. They will also trim electricity use by more than 10 million kilowatt-hours annually — enough energy to power nearly 940 homes. And they will decrease annual carbon dioxide emissions by an anticipated 31 million pounds as well. According to figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this is equivalent to removing more than 2,700 cars from the road.
Honeywell is completing the work under three 20-year performance contracts with the university. These contracts allow school officials to pay for the upgrades using the savings they generate, which Honeywell guarantees. As a result, the program won’t increase school budgets or require additional taxpayer dollars.
“Through our Energy Matters program, we demonstrate how progressive partnerships lead to environmental improvements and cost savings that benefit everyone,” said UWM Interim Chancellor Michael R. Lovell. “By working with external partners like Honeywell, we’re making it possible for faculty, staff and students to better understand sustainability and make meaningful reductions in the amount of energy, water and other resources UWM requires to operate each day.”
From a report titled “The Facts about Wind Energy’s Emissions Savings” prepared by the American Wind Energy Association:
. . . four of the seven major independent grid operators in the
U.S. have studied the emissions impact of adding wind energy to their power grids, and all four have found that adding wind energy drastically reduces emissions of carbon dioxide and other harmful pollutants. While the emissions savings depend somewhat on the existing share of coal-fired versus gas-fired generation in the region, as one would expect, it is impossible to dispute the findings of these four independent grid operators that adding wind energy to their grids has significantly reduced emissions. . . .
DOE data show that wind and other renewables’ share of Texas’s electric mix increased from 1.3% in 2005 to 4.4% in 2008, an increase in share of 3.1 percentage points. During that period, electric sector carbon dioxide emissions declined by 3.3%, even though electricity use actually increased by 2% during that time. Because of wind energy, the state of Texas was able to turn what would have been a carbon emissions increase into a decrease of 8,690,000 metric tons per year, equal to the emissions savings of taking around 1.5 million cars off the road.
From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Bayside — The partisan divide on Capitol Hill means cap-and-trade legislation is all but dead, so businesses need not worry about their carbon footprint, right? Wrong, speakers at a summit on energy efficiency said Tuesday.
The Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and global corporations such as Wal-Mart are leading the nation down a path of “quiet regulation” of greenhouse gases, despite the political rhetoric and battles that have created gridlock in Congress, Mark Thimke, environmental lawyer at Foley & Lardner, said during the Green Manufacturing Summit at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center.
But corporate initiatives have gone beyond Wal-Mart, he said.
Suppliers to 62 corporations must provide information as part of a greenhouse gas supply chain initiative launched this year. That effort includes Racine County-based manufacturers S.C. Johnson & Son Inc. and Diversey Inc., formerly JohnsonDiversey.
Thimke said that means a host of companies that may have thought they didn’t have to worry about greenhouse gases should start paying attention.
“Even if you aren’t one of the big companies and you are selling to these people, you need to know where you’re at,” Thimke said.
Energy efficiency is a carbon strategy because emissions are linked to energy production.
Efficiency opportunities abound for many manufacturers, said Jon Dommissee of Bradley Corp., a manufacturer of commercial plumbing fixtures, which co-sponsored the event.
“There’s a lot of energy wasted – and there’s a lot of money wasted,” he said.