New company will convert dairy waste to electricity

By: Matt Hoffman Email
By: Matt Hoffman Email

Wisconsin is well known for cheese, but production of all that cheese creates waste, which can make its way into our lakes and rivers. A new company in Turtle Lake will be taking care of the problem to protect the environment.

Construction continues on the 70,000 square foot building which will house Green Whey Energy. The company was founded by Tom Ludy, who had been in the dairy industry. He partnered with two men from the land spreading industry to do something about dairy waste.

"Dairy waste water carries with it a lot of phosphorus. So phosphorus is a big deal going into lakes and streams and runoffs," says Ludy.
To fix the problem they are building a digester which will convert the food and dairy byproducts to energy in this facility.

"We just want to do it right." The food waste will come from several cheese factories and food plants in the area by both truck and direct pipeline. We can haul we feel good about hauling things into this plant from within 60 miles. So that's a good size area up in northwest Wisconsin with the cheese plants and food plants."

Because of the new facility, thirteen high tech jobs will come to the Turtle Lake area to oversee the treatment process.

"We introduce what we call feedstock to bacteria that forms methane gas. We take that and run it through two big cat engines that turn turbines that go into the power grid."

"We’re running two big cat engines. They're about the size of a locomotive each one. So we run 3.2 megawatts per day."

That will be enough energy to power about 3 thousand homes. Green Whey Energy will sell the electricity to Xcel Energy. Green Whey Energy estimates the project to be about 55% complete, and they expect to be fully operational by June 1st.

"We’ve been waiting for this for 3 years. The patience has run out and we want to get this thing going," says Ludy.

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