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Turning Cow Poop Into Energy

by Tricia Whitlock

DPG Energy’s new technology is about to change the landscape of the agriculture energy space. Their small and inexpensive microturbine allows dairy farmers to obtain energy from cow manure. This technology has the potential to not only eliminate the environmental impact and disposal problems of the waste, but also could allow small livestock farms to be energy self sufficient.

Winner Winner Beef Dinner: 

Last month DPG Energy, the only Georgia-based company selected to participate as a Semi-Finalist in the Cleantech Open Southeast 2014 accelerator program, was named a National Finalist and received the Sustainability Award. Right now they are in Silicon Valley for the national competition anxiously awaiting their results at Cleantech Open Global Forum competition in San Francisco.

The CleanTech Open is the largest cleantech accelerator in the world and of the 865 companies they have worked with in the US, nearly half have gone on to raise external capital (now totaling over $950 million). Donna Lewis-Walker, DPG Energy’s CMO, commented “as you might imagine, DPG Energy is still “walking on air” as a result of being a Southeast Region Finalist in the Clean Tech Open 2014 and receiving the Sustainability Award.  It was quite a night for our company to be so honored with both of these awards.”

The Problem: 

Each dairy cow produces 120 pounds of waste each day. That waste (which contains methane and nitrous oxide) is expensive to dispose of and harms/contaminates the surrounding environment.

The DPG Solution:

Their microturbine has the ability to burn raw bio gas (that is created by removing the oxygen from the waste) and turns it into energy to power the farm. “This product not only addresses the huge problem of manure disposal, but also provides a low-cost, renewable energy source for farmers,” comments Evgentech’s CEO Jackie Hutter.

Current solutions to this problem require large generators with expensive scrubbers (that cost 100K to a million dollars) to process the bio gas because it’s highly erosive. In comparison, DPG’s light and compact microturbine has only one moving part which translates to low to no maintenance for the farmers. The microturbine also isn’t a one-trick pony. The machinery can run off of sour gas flared or vented into the atmosphere from oil and gas wells, biomass, natural gas and other fuel options such as propane, diesel or kerosene.

Their next step is to update their current demo unit with minor tweaks and then start with field tests.  The expectation is to be in the market in 9 months to a year.

The Dream Team:

  • David Dyar, CTO & COO– COO of NeTraverse; Senior VP of Research and Development, CheckFree Corporation. IBM, 13-year tenure, inclusive Director Strategic Relationships. Consultative CTO of small auto startups.
  • Richard Otness, Chairman-United Parcel Service (UPS), 21 years: One of three co-founders of UPS’ Marketing function
  • Bill Malcolm, President– Prior to co-founding DPG Energy, Bill served as COO and VP, Operations & Supply Chain for mid-sized manufacturing and startup companies as well as Managing Director of a $50M division of AHL Services, turning around and positioning the company for a successful IPO.
  • Jeff Seymour,  Chief Design Engineer– As founder of Advance Turbine Design in 1986, Mr. Seymour has been the Principal Investigator for multiple NASA SBIR contracts, managed the development of over 10 microturbine engine models including commercial engines for Toyota, landfill methane power generation systems and numerous thrust engines.
  • Jeff Spira, EV Manufacturing & Production– 35 years’ in-depth global experience in commercial and military aerospace, Tier One automotive OEMs, marine hydraulics and oilfields. Launched Spira Engineering in 2001. Previously co-founder/President of KMS Bearings for 12 years – a green field automotive manufacturing company.
  • Donna Lewis-Walker, CMO– 25 years’ leadership roles in strategic business development, marketing, sales operations, brand management and integrated communications. VP/Account Director, McCann-Erickson Worldwide & Coca-Cola North America; Director, BellSouth Telecommunications B2B divisions.

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