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Energy and Dairy Research

The dairy industry is a significant component of New York State’s economy. Climate change, rising energy costs, and other stressors will impact dairy farms into the future. NYSERDA supports several projects that are exploring innovative options for increasing milk production and decreasing energy use under future conditions.

Ongoing Projects

Long-Day Energy-Efficient Lighting for Dairy Operations

Livingston County Cooperative Extension and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Lighting Research Center

Utilizing long-day photoperiod (LDPP) to improve milk production efficiency may increase the profitability and competitiveness of the dairy industry in New York State. There is some evidence to suggest that exposure of dairy cows to long-day (sixteen to eighteen hours) lighting leads to a 5% to 16% increase in milk production (as much as five pounds more milk per day, per cow) without affecting milk composition, increasing overall fat and protein yield. The long photoperiod is thought to stimulate concentrations of prolactin and growth factors associated with improved mammary growth and function in cows, without adversely affecting cow health. The objective of this study is to quantify the relationship between long-day (16-hour) lighting and milk production in dairy cows, and determine which lighting systems (T8 fluorescent or light-emitting diode (LED)) provide maximum milk production and quality while maximizing energy efficiency.

Capturing Waste Heat from Biogas-Powered Generators for Conductive Cooling on NYS Dairy Farms

Cornell University

A novel cooling system for the abatement of heat stress in dairy cattle will be demonstrated, using excess waste heat produced by a combined heat and power engine burning digester biogas (CHP-DG). An absorption heat exchanger will capture the excess waste heat from the CHP-DG, thereby generating a stream of chilled fluid, which will feed a conductive cooling element placed below the bedding in cow resting areas, to alleviate heat stress. Field data will be collected from a small-scale and a large-scale CHP-DG system at two operating dairies in New York. Data will be used to model the performance of the absorption heat exchanger. The realized cooling capacity metrics from the absorption chiller model will be used as feed data to optimize, assess, and perform sensitivity analyses of the conductive cooling system with in-situ experimentation. Cooling capacity will be measured for several dairy cows in demonstration stalls. In addition, an economic analysis and life cycle assessment of the entire cooling system will be performed for comparison with conventional cooling systems. Through these efforts, the economic feasibility and environmental impact of the proposed cooling system will be determined.

Last Updated: 04/14/2014