Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Poop Power: From Waste Pollutant to Power Source

Livestock manure from dairy farms, feedlots, poultry farms etc. has a tendency to leach into groundwater and overflow into streams and rivers. By capturing the manure and turning it into methane and other forms of energy, farmers and ranchers can eliminate the pollution and generate profits.
It takes slightly more than three gallons of liquid cow manure to create one kilowatt-hour of electricity.

A lot of poop. A small amount of electricity. A big environmental boost to a dairy farmer.

A fledgling anaerobic manure digester is now running at roughly 80 percent capacity near Rexville in southwestern Skagit County. The plant produced its first power on Aug. 30 and will host Gov. Chris Gregoire at a ceremony next Monday.

The digester accepts the liquid manure in a big holding tank, where it gives off methane gas that is then burned to produce electricity....

Washington already has three conventional poop-to-methane-to-power digesters near Lynden, Monroe and Sunnyside. However, they essentially accept manure from one dairy farm each. The Rexville operation -- built and run by Farm Power -- is different in a couple ways.

It is set up to accept manure from two or more dairy farms -- enabling smaller operations to participate.

And it is designed to accept and extract methane from icky, slop-like wastes from seafood and chicken processing -- as well as other food wastes. Farm Power had to get a bill passed in the Legislature this past spring to make combining the food and cattle wastes easier from a regulatory aspect.

Dairy farms produce huge amounts of manure that can ooze into groundwater and eventually into streams and rivers to cause pollution problems.

Farmers take many measures to deal with this problem, but digesters are a more cost-efficient way to tackle the matter, said Daryl Maas, one of two brothers behind the Rexville operation. _Bioenergy
It takes time for people to learn to think in terms of solving problems profitably and productively. If people spend too much time attending to the mainstream (skank) media, they are more likely to run screaming from problems, in full panic. The same panic mentality applies to many psychological neotenates and academically lobotomised products of government education.

Still, there is hope. No one knows what the end result of new information sources will be, for global societies. People may learn to ignore the petty tyrants of local politics and education, and set their own course.

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Blogger Brian Hayes said...

Skank is a relative term. There are those that enjoy it and those that don't see it and that's all the skank I can tolerate. I hope one day I'll read an alfin2300 post that announces 100% benefits on fuels, power, impact or budgets. In the meantime I'm subscribing because it's as much fun to watch skank as it is to discover news.

6:02 PM  
Blogger J. Paige said...

There are many anaerobic digesters at municipal waste treatment systems. Because it takes special expertise to run one properly they often are not efficient. They also produce lots of reduced S compounds. But scrub the off gas and run it through a stationary high-temp fuel cell and you have volts. With a bit of engineering, WWTP could be modified to run more of the waste/biomass through the digester, optimizing electric output. There are quite a few WWTP in the good ol' US.

7:10 AM  
Blogger al fin said...

J Paige: Very true. I was amazed a few years back when I took a look at the advanced energy recovery systems being developed by waste treatment corporations, and being installed at municipal and corporate plants.

Brian: Heh. Most people get all the skank they need just looking in the mirror.

You may want to check out alfin2500 if you truly like skank.

7:48 AM  
Blogger Loren said...

Have you heard about thermal depolymerization? Last I heard all they had was their pilot plant in Missouri, but I'd imagine it would deal well with this sort of waste.

12:25 PM  

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