DATCP: Agriculture Secretary Nilsestuen announces $60,000 to help develop bio-diesel in Dane County

BROOKLYN – Agriculture Secretary Rod Nilsestuen today announced an agricultural business in Dane County will receive a $60,000 grant for a project that may expand bio-diesel production in the state.  The grant will help O’Brien Farms in collaboration with Great Lakes BioFuels, LLC develop a mobile unit that proposes to process oilseeds into finished bio-diesel fuel right on the farm.

“Today’s energy prices are sparking the race towards energy independence,” said Nilsestuen, state secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.  “We want that race to be won here in Wisconsin.”

Governor Doyle’s Declaration of Energy Independence challenges the state to generate 25 percent of electricity and 25 percent of transportation fuel from renewable fuels by 2025.

The goal of the bio-diesel project is to create a containerized mobile processor that can be moved from farm to farm to process oilseeds into finished bio-diesel fuel and animal feed.  Examples of seeds rich in oil include soybean, sunflower, and canola. The grant addresses the first phase of the project, the economic feasibility of crushing the seeds and extracting the raw meal.

If the project succeeds, it will enable farmers to reduce energy costs by processing agricultural crops right on the farm, eliminating the cost of transportation.  

The research project is headed by O’Brien Farms in collaboration with Great Lakes BioFuels, LLC, and area farmers. O’Brien Farms has been researching bio-diesel production to offset farm fuel costs.  Much of the seed handling equipment in the operation is custom designed by O’Brien seeds to suit the special needs of production agriculture.

O’Brien Farms is a fourth generation family farm in the town of Oregon specializing in corn and soybean hybrid varieties

Grant funds come from the state’s first-ever Biobased Industry Opportunity (BIO) Grant Program. In his 2005 state budget, Governor Doyle committed $1 million to help businesses and individuals develop ways to use plant and animal resources for renewable energy, fuels, or products.