The fuel of the future? Say 'cheese'

Monday, November 05, 2007

From a story in the Oshkosh Northwestern:

STRATFORD — What will the fuel of the future look like and where will it come from?

Prepare for a variety of fuels from many sources, says Wisconsin entrepreneur Joe Van Groll whose start-up renewable energy company produces both ethanol and bio-diesel without a single corn kernel or soybean in sight.

The Grand Meadow Energy LLC near Stratford trucks in waste from surrounding cheese plants and raw canola oil from a nearby farm.

"There is no one silver bullet," Van Groll said in a press release. "The silver bullets are already out there — taking waste streams and turning them into profit centers."

Van Groll bought the Grand Meadow Coop cheese plant when it closed more than three years ago, converted it and with $29,000 from the state's Agricultural Development and Diversification grant program, began testing what is now a trade secret. Today, customers buy a license to use the yeast-based technology he developed with help from the grant.

As concerns about the environmental and societal impact of corn-based ethanol rise, he lists the advantages of his method.

"I don't use energy; I put it back on the grid. I don't slurp up water; I purify and recycle it. I don't push up food costs; I dispose of waste," he said.

Van Groll is a 13-year veteran of the state's cheese industry, and his process focuses on permeate, a by-product of cheese making. But Van Groll says the technology can be used on a variety of waste streams and he sees no end in sight to its application.


auntiegrav said...

How does one get in touch with these guys, and do they need any help?