The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Foundation's Rosendale Dairy biodigester has been named Biogas Project of the Year by the American Biogas Council for its use of manure to provide clean electricity, heat, organic soil amendments and student hands-on learning opportunities.
The award is given out once a year to only eight U.S. biogas projects.
“Universities are and should be in the research and development business, and now you can see the fruits of our labor,” says Thomas Sonnleitner, UW-O vice chancellor for administrative services. As part of the school's mission to become a more sustainable institution, UW-O and its partners have constructed the nation’s first commercial-scale dry fermentation anaerobic digester, which is located on the UW-O campus, and two biogas systems at dairy farms including one of Wisconsin’s largest dairy farms and a 136-head family dairy.
Through a public-private collaboration between UW-O, the UW-O Foundation, Rosendale Dairy and MilkSource, and BIOFerm Energy Systems/Viessmann Group, manure from Rosendale Dairy’s 8,500 cows now generates 1.42 MW of electricity through on-site anaerobic digestion. Around 1,100 U.S. homes are powered per year by this renewable energy production which additionally offsets the release of approximately 44,600 tons CO2 annually.
“BIOFerm is honored that the Rosendale Dairy digester project was recognized by the American Biogas Council with this prestigious award,” says Nadeem Afghan, president and CEO of BIOFerm Energy Systems. The Wisconsin-based firm is an anaerobic digestion company providing renewable energy and waste management solutions to North American operations. Committed to sustainable and economical organic waste diversion, BIOFerm’s digester technology harnesses biogas from fermenting organics—food waste, manure, biosolids, etc., and converts it into green energy, vehicle fuel, heat and organic products. BIOFerm has more than 400 anaerobic digester installations through the Viessmann Group.
Manure at Rosendale Dairy is processed inside two of BIOFerm’s complete-mix COCCUS tanks after it has undergone sand separation. Biogas created from the anaerobic digestion process is combusted inside a combined heat and power unit, goes to Alliant Energy and works toward reducing the University’s carbon footprint. Additionally, the anaerobic digester at Rosendale Dairy has maintained a 95%-plus uptime for the year and an average production of 133,473 KW since June.
“We are very grateful to the staff members of UW-O who lead our programs and efforts in the area of sustainability. Their work is truly making a difference as they lead sustainability programs to enhance and improve our campus, our communities and the world in which we live,“ says Arthur H. Rathjen, president of the UW-O Foundation.