Meeting one of the cows in a Rosendale Dairy free-stall barn during a 2009 open house are grandparents Clyde and Karen Brey of Pickett, with granddaughter Stella, then 3 years old.
Meeting one of the cows in a Rosendale Dairy free-stall barn during a 2009 open house are grandparents Clyde and Karen Brey of Pickett, with granddaughter Stella, then 3 years old.

   Rosendale Dairy and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Foundation may be just weeks away from breaking ground on a project that will create electricity from manure.

   Those two organizations are collaborating to create what is known as a “wet” biodigester, which is a plant that will siphon off methane created by manure from the thousands of cattle at Rosendale Dairy. That methane then will be burned to create power.

   Only a few hurdles remain before that can occur — including an opportunity for the public to comment on an air pollution permit now under review by the DNR.

   Assuming the permit is granted, a “wet” biodigester could be built by next fall that would create as much as 1.5 megawatts of electricity.

   That’s enough juice to power about 1,500 homes.

   And it might do so while reducing the amount of odor Rosendale Dairy produces.

   “By processing the manure, it takes out the majority of the odor,” said Tom Sonnleitner, vice chancellor for administration for UW-Oshkosh. “[Pipes] take [the manure] directly from the barns and direct it into this plant, and it processes the manure. It takes out a lot of the odor which exists now, which is one of the largest complaints in the area.”

 Read the full story in the Nov. 15, 2012 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.