Making electricity from dairy cow manure
Oregon dairy farm employs use of an anaerobic digester to process cow manure, producing enough electricity to sell to local public utility.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - 14:27
The small city of Junction City is home to Oregon's first anaerobic digester, at the family-owned and run Lochmead Farms. Although not an incredibly new technology, Lochmead Farms, a dairy producer, is truly a frontrunner in green dairy technology in Oregon. The digester captures methane gas from cow manure and burns it in a turbine to create power. The anaerobic digester cost $2.2 million and was built by Revolution Energy Solutions of Washington, D.C.
The digester creates 1.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, enough to power 300 homes each year. So much energy is produced that there is enough to sell some to a local public utility. The dairy farm itself, which was founded in 1941, has been at the cutting edge in alternative energy sources as well as local food and vertical business integration. The farm is building solar panels and produces 80 percent of the hay for its dairy cows.
As the manure of cows is often the leading cause of pollution which dairies create, contaminating water and releasing high levels of methane gas, an anaerobic digester seems like the best alternative right now for abating these harmful impacts on the environment.
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