University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Biodigester I

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Biodigester I

The BIOFerm Dry Fermentation anaerobic digester at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, dubbed “Biodigester I”,  is the first industrial-scale dry fermentation anaerobic digestion plant in the Americas. The facility serves as a living, learning laboratory for students and faculty and furthers the University’s goals to create a sustainable campus with a net zero impact on the climate and environment.

  • Can handle up to 8,000 tons of organics at a time including campus and nearby food waste, yard waste and crop residue
  • Produces 2,320,000 kWh on average a year
  • Supplies as much as 15% of UWO’s electrical needs

Digester Dimensions

Total footprint is 19,000 square feet (storage area 2,000 square feet, mixing area 7,800 square feet). There are four fermentation vessels, each 70’ x 23’ x 16.7’. Each cycle is 28 days long, with 13 maximum material exchanges per year – around 150 tons of fresh material per exchange.

Emissions Reductions

  •  The methane produced and used is equivalent to the avoided release of:
  •  9,641 metric tons CO2 equivalent

Electricity generation from these renewable sources is equivalent to reducing:

  •  2,339 metric tons CO2 per year from a  conventional bituminous coal facility, OR
  • 1,372 metric tons CO2 per year produced from a natural gas facility

UW– Oshkosh plant exterior

Mixing lobby

Organic waste being shoveled into the fermenting chamber

Fermentation chamber

Plant exterior


 Video of the “Feed the Beast” Biodigester Campaign at UWO

“We need to expand the notion of sustainability so it gets highlighted and integrated into all we do. This facility really represents that…it allows us to enhance the state-of-the-art teaching and research happening here.” – UWO Chancellor Richard Wells.