Saturday, December 12, 2009

Power from Cow Manure - It Happens!

Renewable Energy From Manure Becomes Reality for NY
Dairy coalition methane digesters to power 32,000 homes by 2020
ROSEMONT, Ill., | Dec. 11

Methane digesters on dairy farms could soon be a common source of energy for residents and businesses in the state of New York. That is one result of the Dairy Power Summit, held Oct. 29 and 30, 2009, in Syracuse, N.Y., which brought together more than 200 New York dairy farmers and industry stakeholders from across the country to discuss the potential for dairy-supplied renewable energy.

Summit attendees set a 2020 goal that 40 percent of all manure from New York dairy farms goes through the anaerobic digestion process, which captures methane from manure and generates clean, renewable energy. The energy produced from this effort could power 32,000 homes while strengthening the economic vitality of New York's dairy farms. It also would reduce New York's greenhouse gas emissions by 500,000 metric tons of carbon, equivalent to taking 100,000 cars off the road.

Gov. Paterson's "45 by 15" program is one of the nation's most aggressive energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives. By 2015, New York State will meet 45 percent of its electricity needs through improved energy efficiency (15 percent) and clean renewable energy, such as methane (30 percent).
Read more here

Don't laugh now! Cow Power is nothing to wrinkle your nose at. Pacific Gas & Electric Company and BioEnergy Solutions started a biogas-to-pipeline injection project in Fresno County, CA, to produce renewable natural gas from animal waste in 2008. This single project is expected to deliver the electricity needs of about 50,000 PG&E residential customers. Construction of a second biogas distribution network near Bakersfield, CA, is scheduled for 2010.

Biogas is powerful stuff.
Cow poo could potentially provide enough energy to power 3% percent of the national grid!

Biogas is produced when microbes break down a methane-rich source like manure. Cow manure is put into covered lagoons that trap the natural gas as the manure decomposes.
Methane has more than 20 times the greenhouse gas potential of carbon dioxide. The BioEnergy Solutions system is said to cut methane emissions from manure by as much as 70%, or 1,500 tons annually on a 5,000-cow farm.

Following the digestion and upgrade processes, the waste water and remaining solids can be utilized to irrigate and fertilize nearby crop lands.

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