Cow waste to Energy: Lauren Pritchard

15 10 2008


An issue  discussed frequently in the media as well as in class is the issue of finding alternative energy sources. To me personally this is a very important isssue. Scientists, and environmentalists all over the nation are attempting to come up with sustainable sources of energy. An ingenious idea for alterior energy that I recently came across was targeted towards farming, and more specificaly the wast left by cows.

Cows like any other living thing creates waste, and lot it. In Vermont a number of farmers are beginning to use this waste for energy. This waste becomes energy by first being pumped into a “digester.” This digester holds the cows waste for three weeks at a warm temperature of 101 degrees Fahrenheit. The organic matter in the cows waste is broken down producing methane and other gases, this becomes bio – gas. In an electrically generated engine the gas is then burned.

After the three weeks in which the waste is stored and generated for energy, it is then released into a separator in which the liquid waste is used as fertilizer, and the solids are used as cow bedding.

These cows as stated before, generate a lot waste, so much that they are capable of producing 250 to 300 kilowatts a day.

This alternitve way of producing energy is a win, win plan. Farmers are using “waste” and recycling it and using to generate energy. This generated energy can not only be used to generate their own homes and facilities, but the surplus of energy can also be sold back into the grid. In addition farmers also save money by using solid waste for bedding versus paying for sawdust.

This is a very sustainable approach to  energy production. I believe this plan could have a tremendous positive impact in North America. Local farms could provide local residents with their energy needs. Communities could begin to consume as well as produce their own energy.





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