Monday, November 29, 2021

British farmers turn cow dung into cow power

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A group of British farmers are turning cow dung into cow POWER – in the form of AA patteries.

The rechargeable “patteries” could be part of the UK’s renewable energy solution as 1 kg of cow droppings can produce 3.75 kWh of electricity.

This is enough energy to power a vacuum cleaner for five hours or 3.5 hours of ironing.

And the dairy co-op Arla, which developed the batteries with battery expert GP Batteries, claims that the energy generated from waste from a single cow could power three households for a year.

As a result, its 460,000 herd could serve an “udder-staggering” 1.2 million UK households.

A reliable and consistent source of energy such as cow manure, which Arla produces over 1 million tonnes annually, could open up new possibilities for supplying energy to households and transportation.

The manure is converted into energy through a process called anaerobic digestion.

Arla farmer Neil Ridgway said, “There is so much potential for innovation like anaerobic digestion to help meet UK renewable energy needs while reducing agricultural emissions with something readily available on our farms – poo.

“On my farm, we are already using the energy obtained from cow manure to supply all of our goods, but that could go much further.

“We are even able to use the by-product of the process as a natural fertilizer on our land and thus close the loop – a win-win situation.”

During anaerobic digestion, organic substances such as animal waste are broken down into biogas and organic fertilizers.

This process takes place in the absence of oxygen in a closed, oxygen-free tank called an anaerobic fermenter – the end product is biogas.

After cleaning, the biogas is fed into a block-type thermal power station (BHKW), where it is used to generate renewable energy.

The end product is a nutrient-rich, low-emission natural fertilizer that can be returned to the land to nourish the soil.

Graham Wilkinson, Arla’s Group Agriculture Director, added: “Arla is committed to sustainable agriculture and reducing emissions from food production.

“Our farmers are constantly looking for innovative solutions, and after our manure-driven transport attempts last year, it is clear that we have only just scratched the surface.

“There are around 460,000 cows on Arla’s farms and they provide a permanent source of manure – manure – that can be converted into electricity, which has the potential to make a significant contribution to the UK’s renewable energy quota.

“A small part of our farmers and owners already convert cow dung into energy.

“If the government and energy industry could see the potential, increasing cow performance could fundamentally transform the UK’s renewable energy supply while also helping to reduce emissions in agriculture.”


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