UW-Madison has received a $7 million federal grant that will help a large dairy farm near Green Bay convert cow manure into ethanol, fertilizer and mulch.
"The idea is to use virtually everything," said John Markley, a biochemistry professor and a principal investigator for the project, which is a joint effort between the university, Madison-based biotech company Soil Net and Maple Leaf dairy farm near Green Bay.
The $7 million award was one of five biofuels projects nationally that received grants announced Wednesday by the federal departments of Agriculture and Energy.
"The investments announced today are helping to accelerate innovation across America's growing biofuels industry, which will help to reduce our dependence on imported oil and support job creation across rural America," said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu in a statement Wednesday.
As the manure digester is implemented at Maple Leaf, which has 3,000 to 4,000 cows, researchers will study ways to make the process work for smaller dairy farms as well, Markley said.