Wisconsin county seeks proposals for cow power project

Dane County is seeking RFPs for a manure digester project.
Dane County is seeking RFPs for a manure digester project.
Dane County, Wisconsin today issued a request for proposal (RFP) to design, construct and operate a multi-farm manure digester that could help clean up area lakes and produce a renewable source of energy.

Dane County executive Kathleen Falk said the project received $1 million in funding from the county budget and an additional $6.6 million allocation from the state building commission.

The county and state have requested federal stimulus funding and private investment for the $18 million specialized farm equipment.

"Our cow power project means green energy, green jobs and blue lakes for our citizens to enjoy," Falk said. "It also means a stronger, more sustainable $700 million dairy industry that accounts for 4,000 jobs in our county."

Dane County dairy farmers produce 2 billion pounds of manure each year, but a digester would remove 85 percent of algae-producing phosphorus, the county said.

Digesters lessen the need to store manure and spread manure, which requires a lot of land and may contribute to environmental problems. The project is expected to produce $1 million in green energy, the county said.