Dairy Farm to Produce Electricity from Manure

 
Dairy Farm to Produce Electricity from Manure

A large farm in western Michigan plans to start producing electricity from manure produced by its 3,000-plus dairy cows.

MLive.com reports that Sustainable Partners LLC, which is involved in a similar power-generating operation in Lowell, says it has been selected to build a 1.4 megawatt, more than $8 million anaerobic digester at Beaver Creek Farm in Coopersville.

Electricity generated by the digester will be used by the farm and sold to Jackson-based CMS Energy Corp.'s Consumers Energy unit. Sustainable Partners Managing Partner Greg Northrup says the plant will be designed to produce energy around the clock.

In addition to what Northrup says is a "constant supply" of manure, the digester also will use fats, oils and greases from restaurants. An anaerobic digester uses naturally occurring bacteria to break down organic waste to produce biogas, a fuel similar to natural gas.

A groundbreaking is planned next year. Electricity produced by the plant also will help the utility meet state mandates for renewable energy. Coopersville is one of four digesters on farms selected for the Consumers Energy Experimental Advanced Renewables Program.

Bill Henke, owner of West Michigan AD LLC and Beaver Creek Farm, says the digester will generate extra cash and help with manure management.

In Lowell, Sustainable Partners says an 800 kilowatt anaerobic digester is expected to begin producing electricity in January.

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