Methane production from dairy whey effluent.
Delta Tri-Gen, a renewable energy company based in Brattleboro, VT, has been awarded a $15,000 research grant from Vermont's experimental program to stimulate competitive research (EPSCoR) for an energy from dairy whey study.
Steve Redmond, researcher for the project says, "Vermont produces 1 billion pounds of whey per year. Generally, the whey is disposed of through municipal waste treatment facilities and this is expensive. We are producing renewable natural gas from whey now. The effluent from that process can be used by plants for fertilizer. Those plants, in turn, can be combined with whey to increase the quantity of fuel we produce. That's the subject of our grant study."
In 2010 Delta Tri-Gen, under the direction of Omega Optical's, president, Dr. Bob Johnson, began to experiment with another less traditional use for dairy waste. Whey was provided by Grafton Village Cheese in Brattleboro. Effluent from gas production was applied to Russian confrey plants in a greenhouse environment. The effluent made the plants grow much faster. Renewable natural gas can be used as a fuel for heat and electric generators, and even potentially as a transportation fuel.
Delta Tri-Gen, located on Omega Optical's Delta Campus in Brattleboro, provides combined heat and power (CHP) from alternative and renewable energy sources.