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This is in memory of TomB, who would have approved.

In 2011, all new big twins marketed by Harley will run on cheese. See below:

The fuel of the future? Say ‘cheese’

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,” he said. “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. His customers now 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.

A 13-year veteran of the state’s cheese industry, Van Groll’s 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.

His technology now turns what he refers to as “a messy problem” into a profit center for cheese plants. He buys permeate, blends it with a customized yeast culture, and produces pure alcohol ethanol. He does so at about a quarter of the cost of producing corn-based ethanol.

Two months ago he began blending the ethanol with raw canola oil to make biodiesel. He uses the biodiesel to power a generator that produces electricity for his plant and plans to sell excess energy back to the power company.

Producing two renewable fuels gives him the option of choosing which market is offering the best return. He also sells dried yeast, a by-product of the process, for livestock feed.

“As long as cows are around and cheese is around, I’ll be around,” said Van Groll who grew up on his family’s dairy farm near Green Bay.

With shiny floors and the smell of yeast in the air, the small scale, self-contained operation is patterned after a cheese plant, working on a 24-hour cycle that starts with yeast fermentation and ends with the distillation process.

Having successfully completed the first phase of his business, Van Groll says he is ready to grow. He’s looking to expand by purchasing another former cheese plant nearby with a capacity for producing up to 6 million gallons of ethanol a year; an average corn-based ethanol plant produces about 40 million gallons a year.

“It’s the optimum size for this operation,” he said. “I want to stay nice and small and nimble. I think that’s the best way I can benefit the environment and the rural economy.”
The ADD grant program was created in 1989 to stimulate Wisconsin's farm economy. The call for 2008 grant applications will be announced in January by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. ADD grants are awarded competitively each year. *

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now that's some neat innovation....
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