Sunday Jan 29, 2023

Middleton digester using solar energy to move manure-based fuel –


In a new renewable energy milestone, a Wisconsin company is using the power of the sun to transport fuel made from cow manure.

Through a partnership with Peterbilt Motors and Maki Trucking, EnTech Solutions plans to use a battery-powered truck to haul methane from its Middleton biodigester to a pipeline injection port at the Dane County landfill.

Charged with energy from the digester’s solar panels, EnTech says the electric truck will lower the operation’s environmental impact and make it more profitable.

Manure from area dairy operations is off-loaded from a truck at EnTech Solutions’ digester in Middleton, where microbes break down the waste to produce methane that is sold as fuel. 

The Middleton digester turns manure from five nearby dairy farms into renewable natural gas that is interchangeable with natural gas extracted from the earth.

Because the process captures methane — a far more potent heat-trapping gas than carbon dioxide — that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere, it qualifies for credits that can be sold to fossil fuel producers in California that need to offset the greenhouse gas emissions of their products. The fewer greenhouse gasses created in making the gas, the more valuable the credits.

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The truck, one of about 50 electric models in service across the country, costs about three times as much as a comparable diesel-powered model, said Matt Wetta, national account manager for Peterbilt’s alternative powertrain line.

Details of the partnership haven’t been disclosed, but Maki Trucking owner Joel Maki expects to recoup the additional capital cost with fuel savings.

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Wetta said the 579EV, with a range of about 150 miles, isn’t practical for long-haul routes but is ideally suited for drayage applications like the digester, which typically requires three 40-mile round trips per day.

The battery takes about three hours to fully charge or it can be topped off between deliveries with a charger connected to EnTech’s solar-powered microgrid, which has a battery to store energy for charging at night.

Maki said the electric model makes “perfect sense” for the job.

“We have the power for the truck generated on-site, we have the product to haul produced in a sustainable fashion and we have the farmers to thank for their involvement,” Maki said. “This EV is the final link to make it come full circle.”

EnTech Solutions and Maki Trucking are partnering to use an electric truck like the …….


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