Category Archives: methane

Smelly Energy

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I have recently read up and researched on the agriculture issue of methane generated energy. Along with some regulations that the environmental protection agency (EPA) is trying to enforce, they are trying to tax farmers when the toxins of cattle manure are released into the environment polluting the air. But if farmers can find a way to make use of the manure then they won’t get taxed to have cattle that support our economy. Methane has negative impact on our environment, agriculturist are looking for ways to reuse methane into a positive energy source. This has always been an issue, but just recently being addressed within the economy today. With the environmental protection agency taking charge, the issue is becoming more discussed since they are trying to tax the hard working famers that are supplying are world with beef. Methane can be turned into positives though, such as used to generate electricity or used for heat or fuel for vehicles. The only thing is that the farmers will have to fund the digesters that generate the methane. Ninety percent of the anaerobic digesters currently in place can be found on farms of five hundred cows or more. An average U.S. digester now costs $1.5 million. A small farm is just not going to pay $1.5 million for a digester, they simply can’t afford that. Nearly 95% of United States dairy farms, about 61,650 farms, have less than five hundred cows, so more efforts should be placed on developing digester systems that can benefit these smaller dairies. The price which the farm buys and could potentially sell electricity, should offset the price as factors that impact the profitability of the methane digesters. A farm’s size and access to electrical transmission lines also play a major role. It does work though, for example 165-cow dairy in Minnesota with a methane digester. Their total investment was $460,000. Grant dollars covered seventy-two percent of the cost. With manure input of about seven thousand gallons a day, the system produces 430 kilowatts of electricity daily.

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