From: Jace Shoemaker-Galloway, Triple Pundit, More from this Affiliate
Published October 30, 2009 10:01 AM

Cash Cows: Farm Converts Cattle Manure into Electricity

A Vermont dairy farm is producing something other than milk. Earlier this month, state officials were on hand to visit Vermont’s newest methane facility. Westminster Farms Inc., along with Green Mountain Power (GMP), have been working together in an on-site plant that converts methane gas released from cow manure into electricity.

Cow manure is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gasses and the runoff from manure pollutes water. Taking a liability and converting it into an asset just made environmental and economic sense to the farm’s Shawn Goodell.

An anaerobic digester is used to mix, heat and break down the manure. The raw manure and ag substrates produce methane biogas, which is captured and then generates electricity. And with an estimated 1,200 cows on the Westminster-based dairy farm, finding a supply of manure is not a problem.

Liquid waste will be used as fertilizer. Leftover solids will be used as cattle bedding, saving the farm about $80,000 on the cost of sawdust. And that is good news, especially considering the state of the economy. Like other businesses and industries, the dairy industry is also feeling the pinch.

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