This week, dairy producer Carl Theunis, and Scott McCallum, governor of Wisconsin, flipped the switch to turn on the state’s first manure-powered electricity plant.
Theunis, and his four sons of Kaukauna, Wis., milk 1,800 cows that produce 48,600 pounds of manure every day. However, instead of spreading that manure on crop acres, Tinedale Farms installed a methane digester and an on-site electric generator that produces a constant flow of 750 kilowatts of electricity. That’s enough electricity to power 250 homes. Tinedale Farms sells that electricity to Wisconsin Electric Power, who in turn supplies it to homes.
The process is a win-win situation, transforming many negatives about the dairy industry into positives. The manure digester process:
- Removes about 90 percent of the odor from manure, which helps keep neighbors happy.
- Provides a reliable stream of extra income for the dairy.
- Produces a dependable alternative supply of electricity.
- Produces a solid and liquid byproduct that can be spread as pathogen-free fertilizer.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel