By JENNIFER MEIER
THE GOSHEN NEWS
April 28, 2013
MIDDLEBURY — When it comes to renewable energy, Culver Duck of Middlebury has, well — all its ducks in a row.
Beginning with a 10-acre wetlands project in 2011, the duck-processing company has embarked on a $6 million journey to become a zero discharge plant by utilizing duck waste to generate methane gas to power the plant.
In March of 2012 construction began on a 930,000-gallon digester, 58,000-gallon reception pit, control room, pump room, separator and biofiber storage building and three large generators.
By December of last year, the anaerobic (absence of oxygen) duck waste digester was up and running.
“We aren’t up to full capacity yet,” said Culver Duck’s Renewable Resource Manager Don Young. “We are continually improving on the amount of gas produced and gas quality. We are almost there.”
According to company officials, Culver Duck’s $6 million investment will pay for itself in four to five years.
Culver Duck is one of 12 facilities using anaerobic digester systems in the state. Nine of those digesters are being operated at commercial livestock farms.
“This really is cutting-edge technology,” Young said. “I believe we are the only plant in the Western Hemisphere dealing with duck offal.”