What if farmers could turn livestock waste - a major contributor to global warming - into clean, renewable energy? Turns out they already can. Take Jordan Farm in Rutland, Mass., where Gov. Deval Patrick, above, did ribbon-cutting duty on Tuesday to celebrate the farm’s methane digester:
The manure digester sits on 1.5 acres of Mr. Jordan’s farm, with two tanks, a pump and engine, and a separator. Through the digesting process, the smell of the manure is removed and is used to produce gas, which powers an engine that will generate electricity for the farm. Excess electricity will be sold back to National Grid.
Once the smell is removed, the solid manure will be used for fertilizer, just as it always has been.
Mr. Jordan said the digester will run continuously, and that his 300 mature cows (700 total) produce about 10,000 gallons of manure each day. He also said it takes about six weeks from start-up to produce electricity.
The owners tell us that they estimate each cow will produce enough electricity to power a single Massachusetts home for a whole year. Read more about the Jordan Digester in SmartPower President Brian F. Keane’s latest column for HuffPost Green.