Farm Produces Electricity, Fertilizer

US - Three times a day, workers at Scenic View Dairy scrape cowpies from the cement pads behind milking stations to turn them into electricity.
calendar icon 29 May 2007
clock icon 1 minute read
That's right, electricity.

In addition to the 20,000 gallons of milk the dairy in Manlius Township produces daily, it also generates electricity from the methane gas extracted from about 60,000 gallons of manure droppings produced by 1,900 cows.

On an average day, the farm's methane-to-electricity system can churn out 125 to 200 kilowatts of electric per hour, or up to 3,000 kilowatts daily.

The electricity is sold to Jackson-based Consumers Energy Co. via a connection to its Belknap substation.

"We're producing four-to-five times the electricity needed to run the farm, so the surplus is sold to Consumers for 3 to 5 cents per kilowatt-hour," said Norma McDonald, operating manager for Phase III Development & Investment, which installed the $2.9 million system.

After the energy process, the organic, odorless nutrient is used for fertilizer for farming and gardening.

"The biosolids at the end of the process come out like sawdust and can be spread on fields or made into pellets for retail horticulture sales," she said.

"We use it here for bedding for the cows instead of sand, which has produced another savings for the farm."

Source: The Grand Rapids Press
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