Cow manure is being seen as a great renewable energy source. Although, the first electric generator powered by manure was switched on five years ago, but now it has a more prominent process. A dairy farmer Darryl Vander Haak brought this technique into existence. The facility is called as a methane digester and takes up manure of as many as 1,000 cows to produce energy.
The dung is put in through one end of the digester and controlled decomposition yields methane gas at the other. The resultant gas that is better known as ’bio-gas’ is burned like natural gas in a small electric power plant right on Vander Haak’s farm. The surplus energy is sold to the local electric utility. The raw material for the digester comes from livestock waste that would otherwise end up emitting foul smell in the farm, so it saves the surroundings too.
The Vehicle Research Institute at Western Washington University offered the dairyman to part with some of his methane to power vehicles with clean natural gas. The U.S. Department of Energy gave the Vehicle Research Institute a $500,000 grant to improve the biogas refining process and then demonstrate whether the fuel can be cost-competitive in cars.