Chinese dairy harnesses cow-pat power

Nov 25, 2010

A Chinese dairy farm is installing the world's largest system to turn steaming cow pats into enough electricity to power thousands of homes.

The device at the Huishan is 10-times bigger than similar systems and will take the excrement from 60,000 cows and capture methane from the fermenting pats, according to Technology Review magazine.

It will generate almost six megawatts of electricity - enough for 3,500 American-size households, but could service many more houses in China, which consume less energy.

The dairy, based in the Liaoning province in north-east China, imports 3,000 cows from Australia every month just to sustain its massive stock of 250,000 cows.

The magazine quoted Professor Ann Wilkie from the University of Florida as saying the project could draw attention to the possibilities of biogas.

"It shows this is not a phantom technology we have to wait for in the future," she said.

"It's something we can do now to deal with existing waste, and garner ."

China's rapidly growing dairy farming industry is a major new source of greenhouse-gas emissions.

But Huishan's new system will prevent methane, which is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, from reaching the atmosphere.

It will also reduce waste and odours, and produce a valuable organic fertiliser that is safer than raw manure.

China has become the biggest source of the blamed for global warming and the government has embarked on a huge program to develop renewable energies such as hydroelectric, wind and other power sources.

The Chinese government estimates that millions of small farms already have primitive manure digesters, according to the publication.

Explore further: UK wind power share shows record rise

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Got gas? Study to determine cows' greenhouse gas emissions

Sep 29, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Any calculation of the carbon footprint of a gallon of milk needs to include fuel used by tractors and trucks, as well as electricity consumed by milking machines and refrigerators. But how much gas is coming ...

Vt. farmers cut cows' emissions by altering diets

Jun 21, 2009

(AP) -- Vermont dairy farmers Tim Maikshilo and Kristen Dellert, mindful of shrinking their carbon footprint, have changed their cows' diet to reduce the amount of gas the animals burp - dairy cows' contribution ...

Methane from microbes: a fuel for the future

Dec 10, 2007

Microbes could provide a clean, renewable energy source and use up carbon dioxide in the process, suggested Dr James Chong at a Science Media Centre press briefing today.

Recommended for you

Should the Japanese give nuclear power another chance?

15 hours ago

On September 9, 2014, the Japan Times reported an increasing number of suicides coming from the survivors of the March 2011 disaster. In Minami Soma Hospital, which is located 23 km away from the power plant, ...

UK wind power share shows record rise

18 hours ago

The United Kingdom wind power production has been enjoying an upward trajectory, and on Tuesday wind power achieved a significant energy production milestone, reported Brooks Hays for UPI. High winds from Hurricane Gonzalo were the force behind wind turbines outproducing nuclear power ...

Global boom in hydropower expected this decade

22 hours ago

An unprecedented boom in hydropower dam construction is underway, primarily in developing countries and emerging economies. While this is expected to double the global electricity production from hydropower, it could reduce ...

User comments : 0