Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Vermont Blazes the Renewable Energy Trail with Cow Methane

Today's Sun has an interesting piece describing how Vermont, which is trying to produce 25 percent of its energy from "farms and forests" by 2025, is facilitating the adoption of methane digesters by cow farmers in the state.

The methane is a by-product of cow manure. The liquid portion of the material is spread on fields as fertilizer, while the solids are mixed with bacteria in a heated tank for 3 weeks, which causes methane gas to be released from the brew. The methane is then burned for electricity. In at least one case, in Vermont, the methane operation provides for all of the electrical needs of the farm, plus $45,000 a year in additional revenue from the Central Vermont Public Service Corp.

Interested in doing something locally? It turns out, the Maryland Department of Agriculture is offering $100,000 grants to farmers willing to install methane generators (the generators can cost over $1 million).



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