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den Dulk Dairy

Seven gallons of milk isn’t the only thing an average dairy cow produces each day.

It’s the “other output,” about 101⁄2 gallons of manure a day that progressive dairy farmers are using to fuel onsite power thanks to Capstone Turbine Corp.

For two years, the den Dulk Dairy in Ravenna, Michigan has converted manure from 1,000 of its cows into 30kW of clean, green electricity produced by microturbines. In addition, heat from the process is reused to heat the farm’s 700-square-foot concrete liquid/ solid separator building.

At a glance


Ravenna, Michigan, USA


January 2008


Methane gas from manure of 1,000 dairy cows


• Capstone CR30 MicroTurbine® produces 30kW of continuous power and 45kW of thermal energy. Biogas from the digester facility also powers an 80kW combined heat and power (CHP) reciprocating engine.

 CR30 microturbine is highly reliable – has only one moving part and doesn’t require any oil, other lubricants, or coolants.

 CR30 can accept H2S levels as high as 70,000 parts per million.

• 2.8 MMBTU boiler.

• The anaerobic digester at den Dulk Dairy,

manufactured by Austria-based Entec Biogas, is the rst system of its kind in the United States. It’s 47-feet-tall and 48-feet-wide.

Putting waste to work with CHP

• The captured methane gas fuels a low- emission Capstone microturbine that creates onsite power.

• The methane-fueled microturbine produces 30kW of clean, green electricity.

• Waste heat from the microturbine heats the farm’s 700-square-foot concrete liquid/solid separator building.


• Ultra-low emissions from microturbines.

• Methane gas, which has a greenhouse-gas impact on the atmosphere 21 times that of

carbon dioxide, is no longer released into

the atmosphere.

• Manure is no longer stored onsite, therefore

lowering the environmental impact of dairy operations.

Waste methane gas from the 47-foot-tall anaerobic digester fuels a Capstone microturbine that produces 30kW of clean, green electricity and 45kW of thermal energy used for building heat.

“With this combined heat and power system, we harness energy from the by-product of the dairy operation to fuel low-emission microturbines that create onsite power,” said Sarah Jenan, Director

of the Renewable Energy Group at Reynolds Inc., which installed the den Dulk manure-to-electricity facility. At den Dulk, the manure rst is pumped through an external heat exchanger that heats the material to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, then sends it to a 47-foot-tall, 48-foot-wide “dairy digester” tank. The external heat exchanger actually runs off

a portion of the biogas created by the process.

The dairy digester at den Dulk is an anaerobic digester, which uses

no oxygen in the process. The digester features a continuous stir-tank reactor that mixes the heated manure to break it down, thus creating methane gas, which is considered a waste gas.

Image | Agricultural den Dulk Dairy

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