All across America, universities, manufacturers, utilities and communities are realizing they have more control over how they manage their energy than they ever thought possible. Explore some of the new technologies that are redefining industry benchmarks in the U.S.
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Hancock, Minnesota, is dairy farm country. The tiny Midwestern town, located about 160 miles northwest of Minneapolis, is home to tens of thousands of cows, vastly outnumbering the local population of 760 humans. Besides producing tons of milk, those bovines generate a whole lot of manure, too. Hancock’s District 45 Dairy LLP is putting the six million cubic feet of manure produced annually by its nearly 5,560 cows to smart, energy-efficient use. They’re using biogas—a renewable source yielded by accumulating and processing manure in an airtight, heated anaerobic digester—to fuel a combined heat and power (CHP) plant.
Driving the system is a trio of eight-ton engines supplied by Siemens that collectively provide 2.4 megawatts of electricity (MWe). The CHP plant produces clean power, heat and hot water—beneficial for dairy farms with a year-round demand.
Anaerobic digestion is the process by which organic matter, such as animal or food waste, is broken down to produce combustible biogas. As of 2016, there were
operating on livestock farms in the U.S.
The average dairy cow weighs about 1,400 pounds and produces
of manure — AKA dung — per day. That’s nearly 15 tons a year!
Biogas is comprised primarily of methane (50%–70%) and carbon dioxide (30%–50%). Animal waste produces about
of renewable, combustible methane in the U.S. each year.
A megawatt (MW) is one million watts, the basic unit for measuring power.
is enough electricity to power 420 homes.
100 cows can produce the energy equivalent of
To learn more about onsite energy solutions that will power your energy future, go to http://www.usa.siemens.com/onsite-power
From the Editors of TIME and Fortune
Arizona Public Service, which provides energy to 1.2 million customers around sun-drenched Phoenix, teamed with Siemens on a pilot project to install solar panels on the roofs of nearly 1,600 homes, capable of generating 10 MW of renewable energy. The twist on the Solar Partner Program was that APS not only paid for the installations but also credited each household $30 a month for excess electricity sent back to the utility via a two-way microgrid. Siemens energy management software helped APS operate the system by relaying real-time data from smart inverters, devices that convert power from the solar panels into the homes.
An obstacle in the large-scale adoption of renewable energy, principally solar and wind, is how to seamlessly integrate new-age sources onto legacy electricity grids. Siemens and OMNETRIC Group—its joint venture with Accenture—partnered with San Antonio’s electric provider CPS Energy to test a solution. CPS Energy installed a microgrid on the Fort Sam Houston military base, and utilizing Siemens Microgrid Management software, successfully tied together a solar array, storage battery and weather station. The success of the test, which was a supporting project to a US Department of Energy renewables program, advances the future of renewables by establishing easier, faster and more manageable integration of multiple energy sources.