The next time you find yourself gagging and pinching your nose as you speed by a field of recently-spread manure, take comfort in the fact that the stink is being put to productive, non-smelly use: a new anaerobic digester built and operated by Cargill is able to convert manure into electricity.
Currently operating on the Bettencourt Dairy B6 Farm, the anaerobic digester has successfully converted manure from the farm’s 6,000 cows into one million kilowatt-hours of electricity per month, with unused energy being sold to the local grid. According to a Cargill-issued release, the digester operates by “feeding manure into a large, sealed, in-ground, oxygen-free vessel. Bacteria break down the waste creating methane biogas. The gas is then captured and burned in a series of generators which produce electricity that is sent to the grid.”
Cargill states that their digester can produce enough biofuel to provide electricity to 1,100 U.S. homes per month. Additionally, the project will also produce carbon credits due to reduced methane emissions. The digester project is part of a broader initiative to enhance Cargill’s direct participation in renewable energy projects, and to establish its renewable energy-based trading business.
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