There seems to be a lot more media attention covering “cow power,” than actual viable cow power plants out there.Hey, why is everybody looking at me?
But a team of researchers at the University of Texas at Austin say that biogas made from manure could provide as much as 3 percent of America’s electricity needs — that’s about the same amount of U.S. electricity that comes from renewables, excluding hydro and nuclear.The day of the cow fart tycoon is almost here.
The researchers published the data in a paper called “Cow Power: The Energy and Emissions Benefits of Converting Manure to Biogas” in the Institute of Physics’ Environmental Research Letters yesterday (hat tip Biopact).
This isn’t simply done by throwing cow patties in the furnace. The paper suggests that if the billion plus tons of manure produced annually in the U.S. by livestock were anaerobically converted into biogas we could burn it in any standard gas power plant. If that biogas were to supplant coal, it could reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation by 4 percent.