GreenWhey Energy, Inc. announced Monday it has secured the construction and long-term financing required to construct and operate its innovative anaerobic digester facility in Turtle Lake, Wis. When completed in the summer of 2013, the project is expected to be one of the largest facilities of its kind in the United States.
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GreenWhey Energy President Tom Ludy summarized the digester process: 500,000 gallons per day of waste water from local food companies that is currently being disposed mostly through land spreading, will now be converted into 3.2 megawatts of renewable energy, process heat, and fertilizer.
The project is believed to be the first privately owned waste water treatment facility in Wisconsin that brings together the organic waste from multiple food producers – mostly cheese and dairy – into a central facility to treat that waste and generate
electricity. The electricity produced by the project will be sold to Xcel
Energy (NYSE: XEL) and will be enough to power 3,000 average Wisconsin
Laurie Tarman, Turtle Lake Village Board President, summarized the impact of the project: “The GreenWhey facility will help the Village of Turtle Lake attract and retain current employers in the food production industry without stressing the capacity of our municipal sewer treatment plant or having to go back to taxpayers to finance additional plant expansion.”
Several additional benefits are expected to the local community from the project, including reduction of wastewater issues associated with the run off of phosphorus into lakes, rivers and streams. While lessoning odors for neighbors, the digester will also reduce approximately 100,000 tons of annual CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas emissions. The heat produced will be sold back to local factories reducing the amount of natural gas needed to run industrial processes. Bi-product from the digester process will be turned into clean and organic fertilizer to offer area farmers a nutrient rich soil supplement.
The GreenWhey Energy project will provide 50 to 70 construction jobs
and up to 13 full-time equivalent operating jobs. It also provides a direct benefit to local food processors who need to manage their cost of waste water disposal in order to stay competitive.
“World Food Processing is dedicated to utilizing environmentally and sustainable solutions in its business operations wherever possible and was pleased to discover Green Whey Energy’s waste disposal solution under construction when considering the purchase of the facility in Turtle Lake. It made our decision easier.” stated Randy Schwake, VP of North American Operations for World Food Processing a global soy food ingredient manufacturer.
GreenWhey Energy is owned by its management team and is supported by key partner investors, including the Geo Investors Fund.
“We are very pleased to make GreenWhey Energy our first investment in
Wisconsin,” stated Clay Norrbom, Managing Director of Global Infrastructure
Asset Management, the general partner of the Geo Investors Renewable
Infrastructure Fund I, LP. “We see opportunities in mid-sized infrastructure projects like GreenWhey that produce renewable energy and address important community needs. This type of project represents the possibilities of how private and public capital can work together to produce energy, create jobs, and solve environmental issues all at the same time.”
Project investment is approximately $28 million and was arranged by Baker Tilly
Capital, LLC, financial advisor to GreenWhey. The financing included senior loan financing from Caterpillar Financial Services as well as New Markets Tax Credit financing from CAP Services, Inc. The project will also qualify for a federal
grant upon completion of construction. The federal grant is being bridged by a
financing agreement which includes a participation from the Wisconsin State
Energy Program administered by the Wisconsin Economic Development
The project integrates technologies designed by Ecolab (NYSE: ECL) that generate and collect methane from organic waste streams. Two large engines and generators, roughly the size of train locomotives, are being supplied by Caterpillar Inc (NYSE: CAT) to convert the methane into electricity. Symbiont Inc. is providing engineering services and Miron Construction Co, Inc is the general contractor.
For more information, contact:
GreenWhey Energy, Inc.
Phone: (715) 491-4444
Global Infrastructure Asset Management LLC
Phone: (646) 379-1049