Pilot Project To Turn Dairy Waste To Fuel

January 5, 2007 7:11am CST
One person's barnyard waste is another's viable energy source, say Clarkson University researchers who are helping New York farmers meet their energy needs. Using a $1 million appropriation from the state, Clarkson researchers are investigating ways dairy waste from cheese manufacturing and dairy farms -- cow manure, waste silage and cheese whey -- can be used as feedstock to produce biogas to generate a farm's heat and electric power. "Biogas derived from the anaerobic digestion of manure and whey represents an important biofuel that could provide significant economic, environmental and social benefits at thousands of farms," says Stefan Grimberg, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. Grimberg is the leader of the project to design and build an anaerobic digester and power-heat recovery system at a working dairy in Jefferson County, N.Y. The project is expected to showcase emerging technologies, researchers say, and promises to produce improvements over current digester technologies. The team will also complete a lifecycle accounting of the environmental benefits from converting waste products to an energy system and the reduction of fossil fuel sources.
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