ALMA CENTER (WKOW) -- Manure digesters are nothing new in Wisconsin, yet few consumers realize the impact they have on communities.
Heller Farms in Alma Center recently installed two anaerobic digesters to manage all the manure from their herd of dairy cows.
Owner Cody Heller says, "One of the main things it does for us is it handles our manure handling issues very easily. Manure goes into the pit, it gets pumped directly into the tanks and makes methane gas obviously, but the separated solids, the bio-solids products that we get out of the digesters afterwards takes care of our bedding issues."
Wisconsin leads the nation in converting manure into renewable energy. Bacteria in the digester help break down the manure, and emit energy in the form of methane gas. This gas produces heat and energy, which is used on the farm, with the remainder sold to the utility company.
Heller's digester system is composed of two cement tanks with a rubber membrane on top, making maintenance easier and providing a longer pasteurization period for the bedding solids. Because the unit is completely self-contained, the digester is full recyclable; again, helping the farm reduce its overall carbon footprint.