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For the final event of the year, ASME Milwaukee toured the Potawatomi casino bio-fuel facility. Located in downtown Milwaukee west of the casino, two large 1.3 million gallon digester tanks dominate the complex. In addition, six smaller 30,000 gallon feedstock tanks are also seen next to the power plant building.
Prior to the tour, members and guests gathered in the Harmony Room for dinner and a presentation. As we digested our meal, Charlie Opferman, who managed development of the plant, explained the digestive system of the facility. First, the carbohydrates, fats and proteins in the liquid food waste convert into a mixture of carbonic and hydrochloric acids, CO2, ammonia and acetic acid. This process produces a gas which is 65% methane. Two large "wonderful" GE engines then burn the bio-gas. The 2 mega-watts of power is then sold back to WE Energies at a higher rate than the casino/hotel pays.
Thank you to Charlie Opferman for taking the time to provide this presentation and tour to our members.