Badger State food waste will be diverted to $20 million digester facility.
The Forest County Potawatomi Community (FCPC), a federally recognized Native American tribe located in northeastern Wisconsin, has announced the opening of its approximately $20 million facility that uses food and beverage processing waste as a fuel source that will ultimately produce up to 2 megawatts (MW) of electricity. That’s enough energy to power about 1,500 homes while also providing waste heat for beneficial reuse, the tribe says.
The plant, known as FCPC Renewable Generation Digester, uses a proprietary anaerobic digestion (AD) process to convert liquid organic waste into biogas. It is located one block west of the tribe’s Menomonee Valley casino in Milwaukee. The feedstock is broken down into microorganisms in one of two 1.3 million gallon digester tanks. This process creates a methane gas that’s burned in an engine that produces renewable electricity. The power will then be sold to Wisconsin-based We Energies. The facility also includes a combined heat power (CHP) plant that can recover heat from the biogas production process to provide hot water and heating.
“Our tribe’s culture and traditions establish a duty to help protect and enhance environmental resources,” says Potawatomi Chairman Gus Frank. “This project not only helps us meet our energy and sustainability goals, but is also important to the region as it removes a waste stream while providing clean and renewable power.”
“The FCPC Renewable Generation Digester helps Wisconsin food and beverage manufacturers dispose of feedstock in an environmentally-friendly manner that enhances and achieves their sustainability goals,” adds Jeff Crawford, the tribe's attorney general and leader of FCPC Renewable Generation. “The facility will allow all involved to be both environmentally and fiscally responsible, which makes our community a better place to live and work.”
The FCPC Renewable Generation Digester received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and Focus on Energy. The Tribe also partnered with several Wisconsin-based companies on the development of this project including:
- Miron Construction Co.–overall project management and general contracting services
- Symbiont, Inc.– balance of plant engineering
- Titus Energy–significant pre-development work and other consulting services
- Greenfire Management Services LLC., a subsidiary of Potawatomi Business Development Corp.– owner’s representative consulting services
- Rockwell Automation–Allen-Bradley motor controls
Additionally, General Electric’s Waukesha plant manufactured the facility’s two internal combustion biogas engines. This is first U.S. deployment of this engine model for use in continuous generation.
The construction of the renewable energy plant is part of a broader $200 million investment the tribe has underway in the city of Milwaukee. This includes the recently opened $36 million Data Holdings data center in Milwaukee’s historic Concordia neighborhood and the $150 million, 381-room hotel adjacent to Potawatomi Bingo Casino scheduled to open in summer 2014.
Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett were among the one hundred guests at the facility this week to mark its official opening.