Manure to Electricity

There is concrete evidence that climate change is mainly due to anthropogenic actions. We are emerging into a world where consumers are becoming more concerned on where their food is coming from and the impacts that food production has on the environment.  Recently, cattle farmers are targeted in terms of rearing practices and amount of methane gas cattle emit.  Although, methane is a natural by-product from a cow, there are increasing concerns with the high demand of beef and therefore an unhealthy amount of cattle that are reared to meet the beef consumption—especially in the United States.  

It is estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that, in the U.S., cattle alone will emit about 5.5 million metric tons of methane into the atmosphere per year.  This accounts for 20% of the US methane emissions.  As population grows and, consequenting beef consumption, it is expected that methane gas emissions will continue to increase.  In the Environmental New Network (ENN), there is a story where a dairy farm.

in Vermont has created a way to capture the methane from the cows and then convert that gas into electricity.  As stated in the article, “Westminister 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.”  Not only does this process facilitate in the reduction of climate change, it is estimated that the process will save the farm a total of $80,000 in sawdust alone.  Since it is probably impossible to force people to become strict vegetarians or even vegans to save our planet, this farm and others are being proactive in how to reduce and reuse the methane and manure from their animals that is more environmentally sustainable.


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