Michigan Looks To Use Cow Poop And Urine For Energy

Or, we could build natural gas and nuclear power plants. Just a thought

Michigan has a new way to fight climate change: Energy from cow poop and urine

climate cowGov. Gretchen Whitmer’s plan to generate all of Michigan’s energy from renewable sources by 2040 is meant to limit climate change gases. It also has consequences for improving or damaging the state’s waters.

Replacing polluting fossil fuel plants with cleaner energy sources would limit oil pipeline spills, curtail mercury contamination, and halt discharges from coal-fired power plants. But those benefits could be easily overwhelmed by the development of a new renewable energy sector to produce methane from one of the state’s largest causes of water contamination –liquid manure produced by large livestock feeding operations.

The conversion from animal wastes to methane occurs in industrial-scale manure biodigesters. The Red Arrow Dairy in Van Buren County, where two biodigesters rise like giant white mushrooms from fallow fields, displays an apt example of the new energy-generating equipment. Liquid manure, 200,000 gallons daily from nearly 6,000 cows, pours into the digesters, which slowly cook the urine and feces in a warm oxygen-deprived (anaerobic) broth. The result is a stream of methane that is collected and processed for vehicle fuel.

Prompted by changes in state regulations, and federal and state taxpayer incentives worth hundreds of millions of dollars, Michigan in the last two years has been the largest center of manure biodigester development outside California, according to state and federal figures. At a cost of $15 million to $20 million apiece, according to industry data, the new energy sector is attracting big players in Michigan.

It’s not actually a bad idea to take all the cow waste, though it is used for many other things, including fertilizer. But, government shouldn’t be dumping taxpayer money into this.

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8 Responses to “Michigan Looks To Use Cow Poop And Urine For Energy”

  1. MrLiberty says:

    Had farmers been forced to deal with the animal waste their animals produced, an industry would likely have already found ways of utilizing it for methane production, etc. Instead, animal waste and fertilizer waste runoff pollute streams, rivers, underground aquifers, etc. Nearly all of it comes from so-called CAFE lots of overcrowded and cruel conditions, not from responsible small business operations with open fields and humane treatment. This of course will be another giant government failure.

    • Pasta Fazooli says:

      Unfortunately, if it weren’t for those feed lots, only the super wealthy would be eating steaks and hamburgers.

      • MrLiberty says:

        Well, STEALING half the wealth of the nation (government for their friends) forces people to make value choices that involve spending. Local/state taxes also drive costs and land usage policies that drive CAFE lots versus smaller operations. At every level, GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM.

  2. SD says:

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  3. JimS says:

    Well, I’m not sure that energy production is the best use for animal wastes… it might be better used as fertilizer. Although from what I’ve read of this process, the solids left behind by the anerobic process is a pretty good fertilizer. We don’t need the state funding or mandating this though. A few years back some idiots were floating a petition to get an amendment to the state constitution to require a percentage of “renewables”. It went down in flames. 🙂

  4. Ed Brault says:

    But isn’t methane the same as thathttps://www.thepiratescove.us/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif oh-so-evil Natural Gas?

  5. Elwood P. Dowd says:

    Communists always choose to “force” freemen farmers to do things like contain animal wastes!!

  6. JimS says:

    Maybe Whitmer should get a plan going to build wildlife toilets all over the state and train wild critters to use them. Call it a jobs program for laid off UAW folk. 🙂

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