Sludge To Be Turned Into Power

By Corissa Jansen of the Journal Sentinel staff April 30, 1999

Alliant Energy Corp. said Thursday it will use steam generated in a wastewater sludge recycling process to add an additional 6.5 megawatts of power to its system by August.

The 6.5 megawatts is enough to power about 2,500 homes.

The electricity will be generated at Minergy Corp.’s Neenah plant, where sludge resulting from treatment of paper-mill wastewater is converted into glass aggregate.

Steam from the process will power a turbine and generator to be installed at the plant by July, said Terry Carroll, regional manager for Milwaukee-based Minergy Corp., a non-utility subsidiary of Wisconsin Energy Corp. The project will cost about $2 million.

Power generated by the process will be carried to Alliant Energy’s transmission grid through an existing line out of Neenah, said David Giroux, an Alliant spokesman.

Wisconsin and other Midwestern states face the possibility of a third straight summer of electricity shortages, the result of an overburdened transmission system and a shortage of electricity generation capacity.

Giroux said the process will provide more power in the state, even if it is a relatively small amount. “This is not power that we’re importing from across state lines,” he said.

Giroux said the new plant is the latest of Alliant’s efforts to increase its renewable power generation, which now constitutes about 2% of the utility’s power sources in its four-state service area.