This California Dairy Farm Has a Secret Ingredient for Clean Electricity: Cow Poop

1/24/2022 4:40:00 AM

All of that waste is an opportunity for farmers to build their own independent power grids—and help stop climate change along the way.

Clean Energy, Innovation

It has already proven its worth as a fertilizer and building material, and even as a secret ingredient in Ancient Egyptian ceramics. As it turns out, cow dung might also have a bright future as a plentiful source of clean electricity.

All of that waste is an opportunity for farmers to build their own independent power grids—and help stop climate change along the way.

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/GettyIt has already proven its worth as a fertilizer and building material, and even as asecret ingredientin Ancient Egyptian ceramics. As it turns out, cow dung might also have a bright future as a plentiful source of clean electricity, thanks to the planet-warming methane it produces.

Few places encompass this potential future better than Bar 20 Dairy, a dairy farm in Kerman, California, which uses methane from cow manure to produce clean electricity with almost zero carbon emissions. It’s the first dairy farm in the U.S. to power its own clean energy “microgrid” using a biogas, and it could be a tantalizing sign of what the future of green energy might look like for companies with access to plenty of methane.

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Clean being a relative term here. Very encouraging! If we don’t keep eating ‘em, I guess. If only we could harness republicans bullshit But cows are one of the heaviest polluters on Earth..

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5:03AM ET Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty It has already proven its worth as a fertilizer and building material, and even as a secret ingredient in Ancient Egyptian ceramics.Those are findings from a new commentary in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health from collaborators at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Global Health Institute (GHI) and Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), Project Drawdown and the University of Minnesota.Wellness Gadgets for a Happier, Healthier You in 2022 Every week, give your humidifier a deep cleaning.Even spending just a few minutes a day practicing gratitude can facilitate better sleep and lower blood pressure, according to research.

As it turns out, cow dung might also have a bright future as a plentiful source of clean electricity, thanks to the planet-warming methane it produces. Few places encompass this potential future better than Bar 20 Dairy, a dairy farm in Kerman, California, which uses methane from cow manure to produce clean electricity with almost zero carbon emissions. Looking at nine sectors, from energy to environmental resources, they identified health benefits “through improved air quality, increased physical activity, healthier diets, reduced risk of infectious disease, improved sexual and reproductive health, and universal education. It’s the first dairy farm in the U. Then rinse well.S.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels,” says GHI Director and co-author Jonathan Patz, who holds appointments in the Nelson Institute and Department of Population Health Sciences. to power its own clean energy “microgrid” using a biogas, and it could be a tantalizing sign of what the future of green energy might look like for companies with access to plenty of methane.

The technology isn’t all that hard to grasp. Yet, at the same time, actions to reach a low-carbon economy offer enormous health opportunities. Then rinse well and towel-dry. Manure and waste water from the farm’s nearly 7,000 cows are transported and sifted into a 25-million-gallon rectangular pit in the ground called a digester. The liquid sits for about 30 days while methane gas rises to the top of the closed digester. This paper goes further, using Project Drawdown’s quantitative assessment of specific climate change actions to determine which of those solutions might provide the biggest benefits to health and well-being. The gas then gets piped into a skid shifter, which separates the methane from hydrogen sulfide and other impurities. Consumer Reports Honeywell HUL430 for $76; it’s easy to clean and use. Finally, the methane is piped into fuel cells that harness it to produce electricity with little to no greenhouse gas emissions. “Climate action today means health benefits tomorrow.

“It’s where Silicon Valley meets the Central Valley,” said N. Ross Buckenham, the CEO of California Bioenergy , a company that operates and builds manure digesters—including the one used by Bar 20 Dairy. “Continued warming of the planet will lead to increasingly dangerous extreme weather events (such as heat waves, floods, droughts, and wildfires), cause significant sea level rise, have dramatic effects on ecosystems and natural resources, and threaten human well-being worldwide. Replace the filters regularly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Producing electricity from cow poop (or other forms of agriculture waste like hog manure) is not an entirely new concept. For at least 15 years now, dairy farms from Vermont to Wisconsin have engaged in this kind of small-scale bioenergy production , making enough electricity to power a few hundred homes, and certainly more than enough to keep a large farm running. Project Drawdown , established to help reach the point when levels of greenhouse gasses begin to decline, has shown the world could halt global warming between the 2040s and 2060s by implementing solutions that exist today and are financially viable. The problem is that most of these places use a combustion engine to run the processes that actually make electricity. The for $ 290 is very easy to use and costs hundreds less than many of the recommended air purifiers in Consumer Reports If you don’t have an air purifier, Consumer Reports says you can improve indoor air quality by vacuuming regularly and limiting indoor smoke from wood fires, candles, and incense.

The green benefits that come from finding a new use for waste are basically wiped out by the greenhouse gasses these engines pump into the air. “The health co-benefits of climate mitigation solutions are often more familiar to people and thus can help garner public support for climate action while addressing the very real impacts of the climate crisis on individuals’ and communities’ health worldwide,” says co-author Kristen P. This is where fuel cells lend a helping hand, since they don’t spew out carbon dioxide as a byproduct when running the methane-to-electricity reactions. Bar 20 Dairy uses solid oxide fuel cells made by San Jose-based company Bloom Energy . “People often assume that solutions to climate change mean giving something up,” adds co-author Paul West, director of special projects-Global Solutions Initiative, at Project Drawdown. They consist of an anode, a cathode, and an electrolyte that’s sandwiched between two interconnected plates. As methane flows through the anode side and air passes through the cathode side, it causes a chemical reaction in the electrons which produces electricity, with practically zero carbon dioxide byproduct. Turns out they’re also climate solutions.

Bloom Energy’s fuel-cell system at Bar 20 Dairy. Along with the farm’s solar arrays, the one-megawatt system provides enough electricity to power all of the dairy farm’s needs. From Climate Solutions Double as Health Interventions . Bloom Energy The result is a self-sustaining, clean energy microgrid: something Bar 20 Dairy’s Steve Sheheady and his family have been trying to establish for years. Sheheady, whose grandfather started Bar 20 Dairy, told The Daily Beast the farm’s microgrid (bolstered by solar panel arrays) is running better than expected. “Health professionals, who consistently rank among the most trusted messengers in society, are increasingly engaged in climate advocacy and are uniquely positioned to make health a resonant part of the climate conversation,” Mailloux says. The fuel-cell system, which started operating in October, is expected to produce about 8.

5 million kilowatt-hours of power per year, which is equivalent to powering over 750 homes, according to Bloom.” The assessment is especially timely since many nations are determining their climate commitments in advance of the next United Nations climate change conference, or CoP27, in November 2022, Patz says. Right now, the farm is basically making more power than it’s able to use. Excess power is put back into the local utility’s grid and is used for electric-car charging, according to Sheheady. A win on climate is a win for health. “We used to joke about how funny it would be if we could make more money off the poop than the milk,” Sheheady said. “And now we’re essentially here..

” Farms, private firms, health-care facilities, and university campuses are all spending millions to get in on the microgrid movement, lured by the prospect of reducing their energy costs and relying less on local utilities (which have battled chronic power outages due to natural disasters and aging infrastructure). And it’s a worldwide phenomenon: Market intelligence firm Guidehouse Insights estimates that spending on microgrid technology and equipment will reach .