A Californian energy company has announced that it is to start producing energy from cow manure. The company, PG&E Corporation, has called the initiative the Vintage Dairy Biogas Project.
At the start, the company aims to provide power for no fewer than 1,200 homes a day.
As decomposing cow dung produces methane, an incredibly potent greenhouse gas, using this – on a large scale - to produce energy would be a significant step. As cows produce roughly 55 kilos of manure a day, this would convert to approximately 100 watts of power.
The system works by placing the manure in a large pond with microbes, which are used to break down the manure. Gas, which would normally hazardously float into the atmosphere, is fed to a facility which separates out the methane.