August 2, 2009

Don't Pooh-pooh Poo Power

I've always said that using corn to create biofuel was, ahem, a waste. Instead of putting food on the table, we're putting it in the tank! Stupid!

I've always maintained that we'd be better off using by-product to create power; I was thinking along the lines of "use the cobs, not the kernels." But one Pennsylvania dairy farmer has taken it a step father, according to CNN:
With the help of a mechanical scraper in the barn, manure drops into a 19,000-gallon tank. The slurry then moves into the digester, which is 16 feet deep and 70 feet in diameter. It's heated there for about 16 days while the bacteria break down the organic matter in order to produce methane gas. That gas is burned in two engine generators to make electricity.
That's right, Shawn Saylor is using cow-patties to generate the power to run his farm! And there's a side benefit:
Before he installed the system, the pungent smell from the cows could linger for three to four days, Saylor said. "The farm used to get a lot of complaints from motorists, which is understandable. It used to stink a lot."

Now, the digesters reduce 98 percent of all odor, although he admits that if the wind blows, you still "get a whiff."
Now, if only pig farmers would invest in this: pigs are prodigious poopers.

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