Cow power comes to Colorado
New plant will convert manure into biogas, which can be transported through natural gas pipelines.
Mon, Aug 09, 2010 at 04:00 PM
Colorado will soon be home to one of the nation's largest waste-conversion plants. According to the Denver Post, Weld County will soon house an "80-acre, 24/7 operation that will convert cattle manure into enough biogas to power a small city."
The plant, slated for completion in 18 months, will be the first of its kind in Colorado. It will use “digester” tanks to manufacture methane gas from the cattle's waste and other organic material. The resulting gas will be "scrubbed of impurities" and sent through natural gas pipelines. According to the Post, each of the digesters will be the size of a swimming pool and will use manure from local dairies and feedlots as fodder.
The plant will also be equipped to process food waste from "restaurants, breweries, and grocery stores ... as well as some fats, oil and grease," according to the article.
In addition to the methane produced, the plant will create carbon dioxide that will be used for hospitals and construction sites in the area. The byproducts from the conversion will be used as compost by local farms. The state chose Weld County because there are about 600,000 cattle in and around the region and existing gas pipe infrastructure to get the gases to cities.
According to the article, the plant could power as many as 20,000 homes, and solves the important problem of proper disposal or management of the manure.