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Cow Biogas Provides Clean Energy, GHG Reduction

As a greenhouse gas, methane is 21 times more powerful than carbon dioxide when it comes to retaining atmospheric heat. And so, although it generally gets less face time in the press, it accounts for a disproportionately large chunk of global GHG emissions. Where does the methane come from? Cows, mostly. At the tail end (pardon the pun) of their digestive system, they release methane; either directly or through the decomposition of their waste.

Capturing this methane, then, reduces GHG emissions. Additionally, cow-produced methane is a renewable energy source that, after a little cleaning, can be added into the natural gas pipeline. That is exactly what BioEnergy Solutions is doing in Kern County, CA. They have recruited three large local dairies to harness the 650,000 cubic feet of gas emitted by their 6,500 dairy cows. That’s enough to power a couple hundred thousand California homes!

On each farm, all the uk levitra 40 mg cow manure is collected and mixed with water in a covered lagoon-like area. This causes the manure to decompose and release methane. BioEnergy built the pipelines to connect the three farms, collect all the methane, treat it so that it meets natural gas standards, and finally feed it into a PG&E pipeline.

Obviously, the benefits of cow-produced biogas do not extend very far beyond those regions rife with dairy farms. But in Kern, there are still six other major dairy farms that could be tapped, which would triple the benefits currently in place. Let’s hope they wake up and smell the… coffee.

Via Businesswire

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Comments (13)Add Comment
written by miltowny, November 18, 2008
Thanks for the great article! Just what I have been looking for!

Business Model
written by Carl, November 18, 2008
What's missing in the article above is the business model of BioEnergy Solutions-- they design, install, and operate the order propecia biogas conversion at a farm, then pay the farmer a royalty on operations.

Seems like we should require collection and processing of manure to biogas-- both to pill price levitra reduce methane emissions and create renewable power.

In this case they feed gas back into the pipeline-- in other cases, the biogas is purchase viagra burned in electrical generators with electricity fed back into the grid.
No portable capture?
written by Skyler, November 18, 2008
Nice article, but I just couldn't help but wait to read that they had invented portable units that strap on the cows and collect gas as it's released. lmao
Missing Something
written by Orfintain, November 18, 2008
There is a reason methane gets significantly less press. The residence time of real viagra online methane in the atmosphere is much much smaller than that of CO2 so relatively the threat is actually less than CO2
Planet Mechanics
written by David Keech, November 18, 2008
The planet mechanics did something like this for a single farmer where he put all of his cow manure in a composter and the methane was captured. The methane was then used to power something else on his farm that would have normaly been powered by oil.

The methane ends up being turned into carbon dioxide and water which still ends up adding to the greenhouse problem but that's better than letting the methane go straight into the atmosphere. 21 times better. :)
yes, but...
written by shek, November 18, 2008
CO2 can easily be absorbed into the Earth's biomass, and I believe that chemicaly speaking it's a one-to-one relationship wrt/methane combustion. IMHO, this is good since it harness a renewable resource that would otherwise go to waste, but I don't think blaming global warming on methane from cows makes sense, unless the get cialis online cows are living off of underground gas, coal and oil deposits, which is where an awful lot of our carbon has come from.
A couple of things...
written by Carter, November 18, 2008
I was surprised to see this post! Just yesterday, I posted a comment about this very thing on the article about the Toronto Zoo!

Here's a page describing the system I was talking about. And they've been doing it for years now!

Shek, in a way... cows do live off of underground gas, coal and oil deposits. The fossil fuel consumption for raising cattle is huge. It's not just trucks and tractors in daily farm work, too. The foods they eat (corn, alfalfa, etc) require vast amounts of fertilizers and pesticides, many of buy ultram online without rx which are petroleum-based. Corn is cialis professional indian especially draining on levitra super active soil nutrients, and so requires even more fertilizers. So yeah... dairy and beef are raised off of fossil fuel, in a way.
written by Jacob, November 18, 2008
David Keech, there's nothing wrong with CO2 as long as its not being dug up from where it was stored millions of years ago and being put into the atmosphere. The earth can deal with fluctuations in Carbon pretty well, think of all the carbon released in Fall in the US as the leaves decompose.
Reduce your methane footprint
written by John Giezentanner, November 19, 2008
This is backwards -- rather than try to capture a greenhouse gas, isn't it better to cialis pfizer india not emit it in the first place? We don't have to have millions and millions of cows. We could greatly reduce our "methane footprint" by not raising so many cows.
How? By not eating them, we can reduce the demand for them, which would lead to fewer being bred.

Fewer cows being raised for slaughter = less methane production.

Just one of the many environmental benefits of going veg. :)
I just wanted to point out...
written by Christopher Reeve, November 19, 2008
1. A common mistake: cows produce most methane through burping not farting!

2. The only reason cows are fed corn and buying cialis in canada products produced with CO2 is to make them fatter faster and because they are not fed enough verity of fresh plants. If you let them eat what they naturally do, they are not at all dependent on oil.

3. Cows that graze on clover and birdsfoot trefoil produce less CO2, just like we fart less when we eat the right foods.

4. I suspect that a cow pat dropped in the open will be broken down by worms and maggots a lot faster so will produce less CO2.

5. Cow manure is a very useful fertiliser, and if the cows are reared on crass it is effectively carbon free fertiliser.

In conclusion the problem is today's intensive agriculture methods that are not sympathetic to the welfare of the cows either. We should stop blaming the cows. We should eat less meat. Locally if a farmer wants to capture methane to run machinery good for him, but don't expect cows to cook our food for us in the cities.
written by Jen, November 19, 2008
Congratulations to BioEnergy Solutions. It’s great to see large companies taking these positive steps toward emissions reduction. Where they lead, hopefully others will follow. A great resource for information on establishing your organization’s baseline GHG emissions is
written by Carter, November 19, 2008
I agree that the first priority should be cutting back on beef/dairy consumption and production, and that it is better to raise cattle on a grazing diet rather than on canada pharmacy tramadol corn.

However, for the cattle raising that remains, this is a good alternative. Also, in response to Christopher: It is when that "cow pat" is decomposed that methane gets released from it. The crucial difference here is that the farmers capture that methane and use it as fuel for electricity generation. Furthermore, the leftovers can still be used as fertilizer!
Put the national cow fleet on treadmills
written by Hellen, November 19, 2008
The national cow fleet should be made to walk on treadmills to generate electricity. When the animals are too tired to be useful for producing energy then they can be slaughtered for human consumption.

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