Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I'm thinking if Jesus were getting into the debate over Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) and environmentalists he'd be packing NRCS dollars to fund biogas production from waste products. Today there are less cows in my home state of Michigan than there were in the 1970's but the problem lies in the fact that most of the cows are now located on farms housing and feeding from 500 to 5,000 head. A milk cow excretes about 14 gallons of waste a day, 12% of which is solid. That makes for alot of poo to be scraped or flushed into manure handling systems. Scenic View Dairy in Hamilton, MI has around 1900 cows and generates a little over 3000 kw of electricity by processing the manure, capturing the methane, and running a generator off the methane. The electricity they generate provides for the 700 kw per day they use and supplies enough electricity and heat to run 3 acres of greenhouse. That is redemption and Jesus does it to the crap that happens in our lives and I think anaerobic digesters look alot like that for CAFO's. Energy, jobs, farm products, compost, and reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emmissions (GHG) - it all looks good. I believe this is also a way that we can work to clean up the unhealthy living environments of the poorest populations in underdeveloped people groups. This is what I've been spending alot of time on and I just had to put it on here.


Steve Coan said...

When I was in Baltimore in December, they had a convention at my hotel for this. When I told this to my friend Punhita over lunch, she said that where she comes from in India, people have been heating their homes off of animal byproduct methane for a long time. They just collect the manure and burn it right there in their stoves.

sam said...

it's definitely old technology. It was a big buzz in the 70's but cheap fossil fuels, cheap electricity, and overall lack of concern over methane emmissions have stifled the exploitation of this resource in our country.