California Converting Cow Dung into Biogas

UK - Energy-strapped California is turning to a new alternative power source to help light and heat its homes and businesses - cow dung.
calendar icon 6 March 2008
clock icon 1 minute read
A San Francisco utility yesterday unveiled a system that collects methane from cattle manure and converts it into biogas, which is almost identical to natural gas. The dung-derived gas is then pumped through the company's pipeline to power plants.

The pilot project, based at a farm in Fresno county, central California, is the brainchild of life-long dairyman David Albers. It aims to produce enough natural gas to power 1,200 homes a day and, if successful, inspire a host of similar operations across the state's agricultural heartland.

The Vintage Dairy Biogas Project, a collaboration between Pacific Gas and Electric and Mr Albers, is being hailed as a win-win answer, albeit a modest one, to the twin problems of energy shortages and greenhouse gas emissions: it provides power from a renewable source while helping reduce the amount of methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide, released into the atmosphere when manure decomposes.

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