Germany’s Viessmanm Group continues to lead the way
OSHKOSH, Wis. -- Dairy farmers have recognized the benefits of anaerobic digestion for years. Digesters, a technology intensely used in Germany and other countries around the globe, have the ability to sustainably break down manure into renewable energy and heat, offset greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce the odors associated with the waste. They also create quality fertilizer and animal bedding byproducts, reduce phosphorus runoff, and are fiscally wise investments when paired with the correct system.
Further, the increased demand and economic viability associated with converting biogas into compressed natural gas as a transportation fuel has sparked additional incentive for developing the renewable fuel source.
Despite the benefits, the typical United States dairy with an average milking head count of 129 hasbeen unable to utilize digesters on their farms -- until recently.
BIOFerm Energy Systems, a member of the Viessmann Group and the leading provider of anaerobic digestion technology in the United States, bridged the gap between digesters and small farmers with the integration of the EUCOlino digester onto Allen Farms, near Oshkosh, Wisconsin, last fall. The limited footprint and cost associated with EUCOlino made it ideal for processing the manure from the family farm’s 136 dairy cows.
“I believe any time you can take something that is basically worthless and make something out of it, the investment is worth it,” says Dave Allen, owner of Allen Farms. “We’re taking my farm’s manure, extracting the biogas from it to be used for heating and electricity, and the end result is a more nutrient-available fertilizer. It’s a win-win situation.”
The EUCOlino is a pre-assembled system characterized by its ability to take up minimal space and be placed directly into any operation that creates a waste stream -- the digester is only slightly larger than a shipping container. While Allen Farms’ EUCOlino is the first of its kind in the United States, the digester is constructed of well-proven EUCO technology.
The digester’s completion marks a pioneer effort to bring technology previously available only to large-industrial facilities to the family-sized farm. The economical and sustainable implementation of the digester also opens a new market for all U.S. facilities that produce smaller amounts of waste.
BIOFerm offers digester systems for every dairy size: from 100 cow dairies up to the 8500 cows of Rosendale Dairy. Every farm is different, however, and BIOFerm™ ensures that each system is tailored to meet the needs of the individual farmer. Every dairy farmer now has the opportunity to turn their manure into energy.
“I’m hoping other farmers invest in this technology to become completely self-sufficient when it comes to meeting their heating and electrical needs. A digester can heat their houses, shops, and water, power their operations, dry their grains, and create fertilizer. There really is an endless list of advantages,” says Dave Allen.