Cow power facility to power homes and clean up our lakes - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Cow power facility to power homes and clean up our lakes


MIDDLETON (WKOW) -- Dane County and Gundersen Health System break ground on a second cow power facility.

It's a project that will turn cow manure into energy and it's going to help clean up our lakes and provide electricity to many homes in our area.

Three family farms in the Town of Springfield will benefit from this project: the Ziegler Dairy Farm, the Blue Star Dairy Farm and the Hensen Brothers Dairy Farm.

Once the facility is complete, the manure digester will use state-of-the-art technology to reduce algae-producing phosphorus from running off farm fields into the Lake Mendota watershed and the Yahara chain of lakes.

The cow-power facility promises to power 25-hundred homes.

"We have been working on it for 4 and a half years so we're finally getting there. Yes, we're really excited," said Greg Ziegler, Owner of Ziegler Dairy Farms.

At Greg's farm, a pipe will take his cow's manure underground across the street to a holding facility.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi says he hopes to get to a place where they can remove 100 percent of phosphorus while reducing the liquid in the manure that the farmer's have to deal with. He says it benefits our lakes and farmers.

The digester will generate about 16 million kilowatt hours of electricity, annually. That's enough to power 2,500 homes. The electricity will be added to the grid in Dane County through Madison Gas and Electric.

"The root cause of many of the challenges in our lakes is phosphorus runoff and runoff comes from multiple sources. It comes from our lawns, it comes from leaves in the street and it comes from agriculture," said Joe Parisi, Dane County Executive.

The cow power digester is under construction in west Middleton. Developers say it will be completed in December of this year.

Watch Wake Up Wisconsin at 6:00 a.m. for more information.

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