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Phone: (920) 424-0767

Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Friday 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

755 Dempsey Trail, Oshkosh, WI 54902

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Urban Anaerobic Dry Biogas Systems

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Campus (BD1)

Owner: UW Oshkosh Foundation-Witzel, LLC / UW Oshkosh Foundation, Inc.

Developer: BioFerm™ Energy Systems

Contact: Brian Langolf,

In 2011, the UW Oshkosh Foundation-Witzel, LLC built the first commercial scale dry fermentation anaerobic biogas system in the Americas. The project began as part of the University’s commitment to reduce our community’s reliance on fossil fuels.

An additional goal was to create a learning living laboratory and research site for students and faculty. A diverse group of collaborators made this project’s funding, construction and operation a reality.

The renewable energy facility is producing approximately 8 percent of the University’s electrical needs and is converting 10,000 tons of yard and food waste per year to produce up to 3,300 MegaWatts of electrical energy per year.

The plant is approximately 19,000 square feet, of which 6,900 square feet are utilized for biogas production. The gas is collected into a bag on-site and used to run a combined heat and power (CHP) unit to generate electricity and heat.

Quick Facts

  • A dry biogas system can use waste from food, agriculture and yards.
  • Inputs remain stationary and indoors throughout the process, while air filters remove any adverse smells.
  • Anaerobic digestion uses input material that has moisture content less than 75 percent.
  • No movement of organic matter, addition of liquid, pre-treatment of biomass or organic waste is required.
  • No sorting of inputs is required prior to loading chambers, saving both time and money.
  • The facility has low energy consumption, using 5 percent of the energy generated for plant operation.
  • Waste water is eliminated, therefore removing risk of groundwater contamination.

Organizations involved: University of Wisconsin Oshkosh*, UW Oshkosh Foundation, Inc., BIOFerm™ Energy Systems*, Viessmann Group*, City of Oshkosh, Zillges Materials, Inc. and Sanimax

*ABC member

Inputs and Outputs
Biogas Production:The plant has a 370kW CHP unit designed to run 24/7. Approximately 8 percent of the University's electricity consumption is being produced.
Feedstock(s):Food waste, yard waste, animal bedding waste and curbside organics. Also contributing biogas at times is Oshkosh City's waste water treatment plant.
End Use:CHP, Electricity, Thermal
Additional Byproduct(s):The final digestate is being composted and sold as a soil amendment.
Finances, Beneficiaries and Expansion
Project Financing:The $5M total cost of facility (includes all equipment, land and soil) was funded by a combination of loans and grants. A $3.7M Midwestern Disaster Area Revenue Bond issued by the City of Oshkosh (lender Wells Fargo Securities, LLC).

Grant Funding for the biodigester came from the State of Wisconsin ($232,587), the U.S. Department of Energy ($500,000) and the U.S. Treasury Section 1603 ($1.1 million) through the federal stimulus package.
Customer:Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) buys the electricity
Environmental and Economic Beneficiary:UW Oshkosh students and faculty, UW Oshkosh Foundation, Inc., Wisconsin Public Service and the City of Oshkosh
Long Term Plans:Additional organic diversion efforts in the city of Oshkosh (100 percent of the UWO campus and city curbside organics diversion, etc.), the potential to produce bioCNG, fund UW Oshkosh scholarships. Also this site will continue as a research and testing lab and as a workshop and training facility.