Posting in Energy
A dairy in China is installing the world's largest cowpat to electricity system in the world.
A bovine’s bothersome bowels could power your home in the future. A Chinese dairy has begun to install the world’s largest systems for capturing methane from fermenting cowpats to produce electricity.
Huishan Dairy is implementing a system to capture methane from the waste of nearly 60,000 cows, The Associate Press reports. The methane will generate 6 megawatts of electricity, which would power approximately 3,500 households in the United States.
Rearing cows (no pun intended) generates more greenhouse gases worldwide than driving cars, according to a 2006 report published by the United Nations. More cows means more methane.
Over 3,000 cows are imported from Australia to the dairy each month just to sustain its 250,000 head herd, the AP says. The Huishan Dairy project would ostensibly lessen the environmental impact of China’s rapidly growing cattle industry.
China isn’t the only place that has determined there is power in poop. Human waste is powering over 200 homes on the national grid of the UK.
My colleague Melissa Mahony found that the average human makes 66 pounds of “sludge” per year, whereas; a cow makes 140 pounds of manure waste per day. Maybe the UK should import more cows.
Nov 23, 2010
...that more methane comes out as burps, than out the rear end. Unless either a) I'm wrong or b) we can collect this somehow, our bovine friends may still be warming us like a global leather jacket.
Great contributions folks. I'd like to hear more about these local farms. Is anyone familiar with one in the NYC area?
A farm in NH has been doing this for about 4 years. The system powers the farm and about 20 houses in town. The solid byproduct of the digesting process is spread on the farms cornfields instead of using chemical fertilizers with the excess being sold as fertilizer. The system has allowed them to reduce their operating expenses and make a modest profit selling power after paying back the loan that got them the fermenting equipment, methane powered turbine and generator.
This is a great story and may the idea become commonplace in all dairy and beef production, leading to a removal of the argument that meat and dairy products are causing climate change. Environmentalists need to consider how food is able to be produced safely for the environment and not be talking about preventing developing countries from eating meat and using dairy products.
We're already doing this in the U.S. and have been for quite some time. I don't recall whether or not the business has hooked into the grid to push excess electricity out of the farm/ranch/feedlot, but they do produce their own electriciity this way. I wonder if anybody has considered capping african termite mounds to harvest their methane. They produce more greenhouse gases that all of the cows in the world combined. The bacteria in the gut of termites, which breakdown vegetation are related to the bacteria found in the cow's digestive system. Both produce methane gas.