Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

April 28, 2013

Culver Duck factory turns waste into energy

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.”

How it’s done

The process begins with the plant’s duck waste, called offal, and waste water. The offal heads to the digester and the waste water is pumped into the reception pit. There the concoction is mixed by an agitator with vegetable by-products like corn husks and damaged potatoes.

That mix is then pumped into the digester where three agitators combine it and the offal. The methane gas created is then used to power three massive 550 horse power generators.

“We sell the energy to NIPSCO and then buy it back,” Young said. “The arrangement will meet all the plant’s needs as well as an additional 60 to 120 homes.”

    But there’s more to the process than just converting methane into energy.

    “If I am pumping something into the digester, I have to pump something out,” Young said. “What’s left goes to the separator room.”

    The offal mixture is separated into solids and liquids. The liquid waste is filtered through the wetlands and the solid waste becomes biofibers — which is good for soil enhancement.

    And the extra heat exhaust created by the chemical process in the digester will be used to help supplement the plant’s heating needs.

    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.”

    The process and the plant were the focus of the Indiana Biomass Energy Working Group’s spring session on Tuesday. The event hosted by Purdue University, pulled together industry experts, researchers, members of the finance community, government officials, farmers and interested members of the public from all over the state.

    The group, along with Culver Duck management, met at Das Dutchmen Essanhaus in Middlebury for presentations that included digester technology, Culver Duck’s journey from start to finish, and understanding the NIPSCO energy buying process.

    The day’s sessions ended with a tour of the Culver Duck anaerobic digester system.

    “This was the largest group we’ve had tour yet,” Young said. “And it went very well. They were very curious and had a lot of questions.”

Others notice

    Chad Martin, a renewable energy specialist from the agricultural and biology department at Purdue University, was a part of Tuesday’s program.

    “This is not only a great example of solving problems, but of creating opportunities. They are managing waste materials and creating clean renewable energy,” Martin said. “This is definitely a good thing for finding other livestock opportunities statewide.”

    Anaerobic Digestion Specialist and researcher at Purdue University Dr. Jiqin Ni, liked what he saw at Culver Duck.

    “This is very impressive. They are producing clean, renewable energy, reducing pollution and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels,” Dr. Ni said. “Technology in this area is really growing.”

    The technological advances have made it possible for the entire digester process at Culver Duck to be a one-man operation.

    “I’ve had plenty of help from IT guys and consultants,” Young said. “But once all the details have been worked out, this really is a one-person job.”

    In fact when the working day is over, Young can start and stop the process, check the temperature in the digester, and know how many kilowatts the generators are putting out from his laptop computer at home.

    On Friday the Culver Duck Mascot will join the Silver Hawks Mascot on the field during the game against the Quad Cities at Coveliski Stadium in South Bend. The green duck mascot is sponsored by Culver Duck, Whole Foods in Mishawaka (where duck from Culver Duck can be purchased) and JPR consulting firm.

    Culver Duck opened in Middlebury in 1960 and raises and processes 5 million ducks a year.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Lifelong Learning fall courses announced GOSHEN — The Lifelong Learning Institute of Elkhart County is offering fall courses. These short courses are designed to provide stimulating and affordable classes in many fields for active seniors. There are no tests or grades, and no previous studies or degrees are required.

    August 22, 2014

  • Fresh shrimp business approved GOSHEN — Finding fresh shrimp in Elkhart County just got a little easier.

    August 21, 2014

  • NWS GN140822 john hertzel (2) John Hertzler relishes role with Goshen Historical Society GOSHEN — Visitors to the Goshen Historical Society’s museum might not know John Hertzler is there, tucked back in an office beyond the rows of historic documents, photographs and artifacts.

    August 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • South Ninth Street area under boil water order South Ninth Street, between East Jackson and Franklin streets in Goshen, is under a boil water order from noon until further notice.

    August 21, 2014

  • GN140821 Pike Street Project 2 INDOT meeting held to discuss Pike Street project GOSHEN — Major changes may be on the way for a small section of Pike Street in downtown Goshen.

    August 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0821 goshen college challenge Locals embrace ice bucket challenge It’s a challenge that has united participants with the shared sensation of an icy burst of water, sopping wet clothing and video evidence — all in the name of philanthropy.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140821 nisly complaint Complaint filed against state rep candidate Accusations of wrongdoing, in the form of a complaint to the Indiana Election Commission, have been levied against District 22 representative Republican nominee Curt Nisly.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140820 dometic groundbreaking Dometic breaks ground on significant expansion in Goshen GOSHEN — As Dometic officials gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony for the $7 million expansion of their Goshen distribution center Wednesday, the work was already underway in the background. “It’s happening right now,” said Dave Schutz, vice presi

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140821 Ignition art Plenty of good music on horizon at Ignition Several upcoming shows at Ignition Garage in Goshen were announced this week.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • City plan nearing a final draft GOSHEN — The city’s new comprehensive plan is nearing completion, and a near-final draft has now been released for public review. Goshen Plan Commission members released the draft of the city’s newly penned comprehensive plan, titled “Uncommonly Grea

    August 19, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
     View Results
AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn