Dairyland Power Cooperative using cow power

200247597-001According to Wisconsin Dairy Data the state has 1.27 ­million dairy cows. Dairyland Power Cooperative, which serves Illinois ­cooperative Jo-Carroll Energy, is using the resulting waste as resource and ­turning cow poop into ­electricity. The generation and transmission ­cooperative is a national leader in what it calls cow power.

The co-op is also using biomass, wind and landfill gas to increase its renewable energy portfolio.

Cow power typically makes ­economic sense when there is a dairy herd of at least 1,000 cows. But Dairyland Power is exploring options for small scale manure digesters for farms with dairy herds of as few as 100 cows.

Methane gas is produced by the manure digester and the gas is used to ­generate electricity. Besides producing enough electricity for about 20 homes, the process also creates weed and pathogen free mulch that can be sold for an additional ­revenue stream.