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COW POWER: Michigan farmers turn manure into energy

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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 02:25 PM
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COW POWER: Michigan farmers turn manure into energy
http://www.freep.com/article/20081207/NEWS06/812070386/...

FENNVILLE -- The round metal building with its green dome looks only slightly out of place next to barns full of mooing cows. It takes up about a third of an acre, inconspicuous on the sprawling Scenic View Dairy farm, surrounded by dirt roads and acres of tasseled corn.

Inside, stinky manure from 3,500 cows and 9,400 pigs is being fermented and turned into electricity. What's left afterward is a rich, dark pile of soft biofiber that looks like mulch and smells only faintly of its origins. It goes back into the barns as bedding for the cows. Liquid that is leftover is sprayed as fertilizer onto nearby corn, soy, alfalfa and wheat crops.

Welcome to the miracle of anaerobic digestion, a natural bacterial process the farm is harnessing to produce alternative energy. Scenic View's anaerobic digesters have been operating for nearly two years -- the first in the country to produce not only electricity but also natural gas for sale.

The manure is pumped into large insulated tanks, where it's heated to the ideal temperature for tiny bacteria in it to work on producing methane gas.

<more>
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VeraAgnes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 02:26 PM
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1. I bet they got the idea from
"Mad Max Thunder-dome".
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jaksavage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 02:51 PM
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2. Or they were in the Peace Corps
In 1979 we learned all about it.
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Greyskye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:01 PM
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3. I note with due contempt the yuppie fundies who...
...who, ah...

Never mind. I just didn't think an alternative energy thread would be the same without that particular rant. :evilgrin:
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Nuclear and/or waste seems to be a couple of the key words
especially when you use the two together along with a question
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Nihil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 06:24 AM
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5. Interesting ...
> Scenic View's anaerobic digesters have been operating for nearly two
> years -- the first in the country to produce not only electricity but
> also natural gas for sale.

I like that last point: they can compress the surplus gas (i.e., above
that required for their own operations) and push it into the NG pipeline.

One of our nearby farms (much smaller scale) is doing the anaerobic digester
bit for their own energy needs but it's good to see that the scaling up
doesn't result in methane either being released or having to be flared.

Thanks for posting!
:thumbsup:
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