Michigan Dairy Farm To Produce Energy From Manure

A grant has been awarded to a large dairy operation in a Michigan County to build a bio-digester to both produce electricity and reduce pollution that officials hope will become widespread in the future.

The Grand Valley State University's (GVSU) alternative energy center in Muskegon announced that it will award the largest dairy operation in Muskegon County, MI, a $1 million state grant to develop a manure-to-electricity facility, commonly known as a 'bio-digester'. The sprawling den Dulk Dairy will contribute $1.2 million toward the facility as well.

"The plant offers an environmentally friendly disposal system for factory farm wastes and produces electricity from a renewable "green" fuel source."

"Currently, waste from den Dulk -- a "concentrated animal feeding operation" or CAFO, commonly called a factory farm -- is stored onsite and is eventually spread on farm fields across West Michigan. Such practices cause environmental problems with runoff into rivers and streams, environmentalists and state regulators say.

"The planned European bio-digester is a demonstration project that Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center (MAREC)officials hope will be repeated across West Michigan and the state. "

The plant offers an environmentally friendly disposal system for factory farm wastes and produces electricity from a renewable "green" fuel source.

"The plant -- with construction slated for later this fall or early next spring -- would use the manure from 700 to 1,000 of the den Dulk Dairy cows. Den Dulk reportedly has approximately 4,000 cows on the farm on Wunsch Road in Ravenna Township and produces 155 million pounds of manure annually, according to state records."

Den Dulk stated,"In 10 years it's going to be hard to have a dairy farm without a digester."

However, not all dairies appear to be interested.

Country Dairy, with 300-500 dairy cows, indicated that it lacked "the economies of scale" to make the digester a profitable investment.

Thanks to Yvonne Tasker-Rothenberg via Sierra Club CAFO listserv

Full Story: Factory farm signs on to get manure power

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