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Wisconsin’s Dane County moves ahead with second AD facility


May 24, 2012
By Manure Manager

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Dane County in Wisconsin plans on constructing a second cow power facility, similar to the one constructed near Waunakee more than one year ago. Submitted photo

Wisconsin’s Dane County is moving forward with plans for a second cow power facility, selecting a site for the project, and entering into a new partnership for the project with healthcare provider Gundersen Health System, Dane County executive Joe Parisi announced recently.

Construction of the manure digester is anticipated to begin in late 2012.

Dane County and Gundersen Health System plan to join with three farm families in the town of Springfield, just outside of the city of Middleton – the Ziegler Dairy Farm, Blue Star Dairy (owned by the Meinholz family) and the Hensen Brothers Farm. US BioGas will also join the partnership as project developer.

More than a year ago, Dane County was the first county in Wisconsin to construct a cow-powered community manure digester, located near Waunakee.

Madison Gas and Electric will purchase 11 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually from the Springfield facility, enough to power approximately 1,600 homes. The electricity will be added to the local electric grid to help serve all customers.

The county’s digester facilities will help farmers with the storage and management of manure. Dane County has 400 dairy farms, which equates to approximately 50,000 dairy cows.

“Converting manure into electricity not only provides a 24/7 source of renewable energy, but also helps keep algae-causing phosphorus out of our lakes,” said Greg Ziegler, a Springfield dairy farmer participating in the project.

Agreements for the community manure digester project will move forward pending approval by the Dane County board. In addition to county board approval, the project will also need approval from the Town of Springfield and air and water permits from the state Department of Natural Resources.


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