Dairy manure becomes electricity through digester
By Jean Caspers-Simmet
WESTGATE, Iowa -- Top; Deck Holsteins near Westgate is producing milk like other dairy farms, but it's also producing power from its 700 Holsteins.
The dairy farm is owned and operated by Judy and Roger Decker and their sons Derek, Jason and Justin. The family has partnered with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Alliant Energy to install a methane digester which is generating electricity.
At an open house last week, the Deckers showed their neighbors how it all works.
The digester system uses a 150 horsepower engine coupled to a 100 kilowatt generator in addition to a 30 kilowatt micro turbine, which Alliant is testing, said Dan Meyer, Iowa State University Extension ag engineer, who served as project construction engineer.
The earthen-covered anaerobic digester converts heated manure to carbon dioxide, methane, water and liquid manure.
For more about TopDeck Holsteins' operation, turn to Page A2.