Dean Foods Explores Turning Cow Waste to Energy

Dean Foods Explores Turning Cow Waste to Energy

Dairy giant Dean Foods Co. plans to turn animal waste from its thousands of cows into renewable energy for the local power grid. The move will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and generate carbon and renewable energy credits.

The Big Sky Dairy farm near Gooding, Idaho, is the home of some 4,700 dairy cows. An anaerobic digester under development will capture and convert the methane produced by the cows into more than a megawatt of electricity, as well as produce a sanitary fiber by-product that can be used to clean animal bedding or enhance soil.

"We are very excited about this project and the benefits it will provide to us in operating our farm," said Russel Visser of Big Sky Dairy. "We will be better able to control our waste and reduce our associated costs while improving the environment."

Dean is teaming with AgPower Partners for the project, which is expected to begin operating early next year. Dean bills itself as the biggest milk and dairy product processor and distributor in the U.S.