Gundersen’s biomass boiler burns locally-sourced wood chips to create clean energy.
This summer’s University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) “Energy and the Earth” engaged thousands of people worldwide. However, UW students were given an opportunity to participate beyond the online forum when they visited Gundersen Health System to see Gundersen’s Envision energy conversation projects in action.
The students toured Envision’s dairy digester, biomass boiler, solar, wind, and geothermal heat pump projects, which represent Gundersen’s path to energy independence.
“It was incredible to see one organization using so many types of renewable energy,” said Anna Ostermeier. “I was impressed that so many of their initiatives were able to take off, despite the challenges. After learning about several energy technologies in the MOOC, it was interesting to see how they were put into practice.”
“They use leftover wood chips from nearby lumber mills to fuel a biomass digester and methane produced by a nearby landfill to fuel a generator,” said Brooke Marten, who is studying civil engineering. “They use what others may view as waste and turn it into useful energy. I hope other businesses follow in their footsteps.”