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Clarkson University Collaborates With Coolbrands On Dairy Waste To Energy Project
CoolBrands Dairy Inc. of North Lawrence will conduct an official ground breaking Friday, October 14 on a $3.3 million waste treatment system that will convert waste byproducts from its cottage cheese and yogurt production into bio gas.
CoolBrands acquired the Kraft Foods manufacturing facility in March 27th of 2005 and in August signed a contract with Ecovation, a leading provider of customized waste treatment solutions, to install its anaerobic waste treatment and renewable energy production technology at the North Lawrence plant. Coolbrands was also awarded a $500,000 renewable grant from the USDA Rural Development program to install the system.
Grimberg, along with other Clarkson researchers and graduate students, will conduct an energy survey of the CoolBrands plant to determine the best way to convert their bio gas into energy. One of the questions Clarkson is looking at is whether the bio gas produced should be used exclusively for steam generation. “We may find that the most efficient use of the bio gas, and the greatest benefit to CoolBrands, is to use a portion of the fuel for electric power generation,” said Grimberg. To find the answer, Clarkson will conduct an energy audit of the existing plant and then conduct research in possible energy conversion processes.
The idea of converting dairy waste to energy is catching on in Upstate New York. Clarkson’s collaboration with CoolBrands is only the latest research project to turn agricultural waste into energy. In fact, last Thursday, the US Department of Agriculture granted Clarkson $800,000 for a $1.8 million project they have underway to design and build a digester/energy recovery system. The state-of-the-art digester converts dairy waste to methane gas, which in turn powers an engine to produce energy. The Clarkson team is convinced that dairy waste to energy projects are an efficient way to boost the economy, increase profits for businesses like CoolBrands, as well as individual farmers, and positively impact the environment.