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Wild Rose Dairy

Location LaFarge, Wisconsin
Project Type Farm Scale
Animal Type Dairy
Population Feeding Digester 880
Baseline System Storage Tank or Pond or Pit
Digester Type Complete Mix
Co-Digestion Food wastes (grease and fats from local restaurants)
System Designer Microgy
Biogas Use Electricity
Generating Capacity 775 kW
Receiving Utility Dairyland Power Cooperative

Farm Bill Funded Project

Aerial photo of centralized digester site

Photo: Microgy, Inc.

Wild Rose Dairy's owner acquired the benefits of anaerobic digestion through an agreement with Microgy, Inc. and Dairyland Power Cooperative. Microgy provided a complete turnkey digester, including development, construction, financing, and ongoing operation and maintenance. With Microgy providing financing, Wild Rose Dairy did not have a large cash outlay. Dairyland Power buys the resulting biogas and owns/operates the engine-generator set to generate electricity. Wild Rose Dairy pays off the debt on the digester through biogas sales to Dairyland. Dairyland Power owns the renewable energy attributes from the electricity generation.

The above ground carbon steel tank complete-mix digester with a fixed cover has been operational since 2005 and runs at a target temperature of 125°F. Manure, along with kiln-dried sawdust from bedding, is scraped three times per day from the barns. The system is designed to include co-digestion of off-farm high fat food wastes to boost biogas production. About 1,100 gallons of manure mixed with food wastes are batched into the digester hourly.

Solids are separated after digestion and are sold for use off the farm to other dairies for bedding and to organic farmers for fertilizer. The project includes the following benefits:

  • Provides revenue from gas sales, which allows Wild Rose to pay down the debt on the digester
  • Provides Dairyland Power Cooperative a competitively priced renewable energy source for their customers
  • Generates additional biogas from added off-farm food wastes as an integral part of the business model

It is only right that the gas be put to use.
—Art Thelen, Wild Rose Dairy, quoted in Focus on Energy's Wisconsin Agricultural Biogas Casebook (July 2008 Edition)

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