Manure as a localised fuel source may have reached a mainstream inflection point.
According to the EIA, average domestic consumption of fuel derived from biomass waste now averages 40 trillion BTUs per month.
It’s an extremely simple process, and YouTube is now filled with folks showing how they’ve set up homemade methane digesters.
But even on a larger scale, the science is basic, as was illustrated in a PBS feature on a Nebraska pig farmer who uses animal waste to power his utilities.
Here’s how it works:
1. Pig manure flows into a sealed pit a few hundred feet away.
2. This is the methane digester. It’s filled with simple bacteria that breaks down the waste in an anaerobic process to create methane.
3. Finally, the methane gets piped into the generator.
The use of such projects has exploded in recent years.
The EPA calculates the country’s full animal methane potential power output at 13 million mwh/year — not an exceptional amount, but more than the entire state of Maine generates in one year.
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