2010 - Volume #34, Issue #3, Page #04[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Manure To Power Electric PlantBy next near, manure briquettes from Wisconsin dairy farmers could be used to power coal-burning power plants. Efrim Energy, a Great Neck, N.Y., based company has agreements to work with half a dozen farmers in Brown and Kewaunee counties in northeastern Wisconsin to set up on-farm facilities to make the briquettes.
The three-step process begins by pumping manure into a slurry separator that squeezes out liquid to reduce moisture content to about 65 percent. Next, the manure goes through a dryer that creates friction and raises the temperature to a point where it kills pathogens and reduces moisture to about 15 percent - no additional heat is added to the process and no impurities are introduced into the atmosphere. Finally, the dried manure is squeezed through dies to make odorless 3 by 5-in. briquettes.
Only a small amount of electricity is used to operate the system. The energy content of the briquettes varies slightly according to the cattle's feedstock.
"In Wisconsin, it's between 8,000 and 8,500 btu/lb., almost like a lower grade coal," says Raphael Fink, managing partner of Efrim Energy.
Utility companies are required to meet federal EPA and state-mandated standards by increasing use of green energy sources. The briquettes can help them meet the requirements without the utility company having to build new infrastructure. Briquettes can be delivered regularly with consistent moisture content, which is often difficult with other biomass products such as wood. The briquette form is easy to transport, and companies can pulverize it along with coal.
For farmers, especially those with a concentrated animal feeding operation, turning manure into fuel solves the huge problem of finding enough land to spread manure. Producers still get the benefit of the nutrient-rich liquid that is left, which can be applied year round instead of just a couple times a year.
Fink is working with interested farmers and state officials to find funding to set up the processors. They require 40 by 100-ft. facilities on concrete slab with protection from the weather.
The estimated set-up cost per processor is $1.5 million. Potentially, six farms could produce 54,000 tons of briquettes a year.
"Wisconsin was the first to introduce digesters, and we'd like to introduce this new technology in this state," Fink says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Raphael Fink, Efrim Energy, 2 Cuttermill Rd., #201, Great Neck, N.Y. 11021 (ph 516 829-1627; www.efrimenergy.com).
Click here to download page story appeared in.
Click here to read entire issue
To read the rest of this story, download this issue below or click here to register with your account number.