California dairy farmers are turning cow manure into enough renewable energy to power 1,200 homes a day. The Vintage Dairy Biogas Project, run by dairyman and BioEnergy Solutions president David Albers, is selling utility company PG&E natural gas derived from manure, according to a Reuters article.
Decomposing cow manure produces methane, a greenhouse gas more powerful than carbon dioxide. Rather than releasing that methane to the air, the biogas project uses a plastic-lined, covered lagoon the size of five football fields to capture the methane in the manure, treat it, and then send the renewable gas into PG&E’s pipeline.
PG&E is trying to meet a California government mandate that 20 percent of its energy supply be from renewable energy sources by 2010. The utility expects to reach 14 percent this year.