Well Being

Wisconsin’s New, Awesome Source Of Alternative Energy: Cheese

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A new state-of-the-art energy facility that will run on cheese is opening up in (where else?) Wisconsin. Finally, a way to make America's obsession with dairy more sustainable!

According to Organic Authority, about 3,000 homes will soon begin receiving their energy from this $28 million project called GreenWhey Energy. Whey, one of the byproducts of cheese production, will be used to create “biogas” which will then create usable energy, up to 3.2 megawatts.

According to Energy Manager Today, it works like this:

First, water tankers and pipelines will deliver wastewater from dairies to GreenWhey Energy’s onsite storge tanks. Then the company will prepare it for anaerobic digestion, adjusting for temperature, acidity and nutrient content.

Pre-treated water will then enter the two separate anaerobic reactors, which will break down organic material and converted it to biogas, a mixture of CO2 and methane. The gas will be captured and used to power on-site generators. Excess bacteria will be used to treat future streams of wastewater.

After digestion is completed, solids will be separated from the water, dried and stored for use as a fertilizer. The remaining water will be treated and sent to Turtle Lake’s municipal water treatment facility.

The plant is slated to open up this summer and will be the first of its kind in the state. The project is local, too, started by a father-son team who were hoping to turn their longtime problem of disposing wastewater into a way to help their industry and community of Turtle Lake, Wisconsin. The plant is expected to employ up to 13 people full-time.

I think this is so, so cool. Not only is it just weird enough to be interesting, it's actually a really awesome step forward for finding alternative, renewable sources of energy.

Photo: Shutterstock