The Biogas Solution: Turning Manure into Profit
By Sandra Vijin, World Wildlife Federation, July 14, 2014
There’s another energy revolution developing from the most unlikely of places – cow manure
Today, President Obama released a “Biogas Opportunities Roadmap”, as part of the administration’s Climate Action Plan – Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions. The Roadmap promotes the market potential and benefits of biogas and encourages the adoption of closed-looped biogas systems. In action, this is collecting cow manure and allowing it to ferment in a sealed tank. The methane released during fermentation is captured and used for energy. In a closed-loop system, the “cooked” manure – essentially sterilized — is separated into liquid and solid. The liquid is used as crop fertilizer and the solids can be used as cow bedding or compost.
Biogas systems improve the sustainability of a dairy, swine or poultry farm’s daily operations by helping farmers conserve resources and cutting methane emissions – both of which combat climate change.
Biogas systems operate through the use of anaerobic digestion, the process by which biodegradable material is broken down by bacteria in the absence of oxygen.