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Now, in addition to producing "great cheese," California's happy cows will also be providing power to its residents. Earlier this week, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), California's utility company in collaboration with BioEnergy Solutions, unveiled a system that will collect manure (cow poop) from a dairy farm and refine it into biogas, (almost the same as natural gas).
BioEnergy Solutions has built a system, which collects the manure in a large pit. It then lets naturally occurring bacteria to break it down. This results in the release of methane (natural gas). The gas is then collected and trapped into some steel tanks, where any other gases are removed. The methane will then be fed to PG&E's natural gas pipelines.
The company expects to generate enough gas to power 1200 homes from this single farm. BioEnergy plans to provide PG&E with a total of 3 billion cubic feet of gas this year - enough to power over 50,000 homes.
With over 2 million dairy cows in California, PG&E believes it will be able to generate over 5% of its power requirements from this new renewable energy source. Add to this the extra income that will be produced by dairy farmers from something that is a nuisance and produces an environmentally harmful gas (methane), if released directly into the atmosphere - it's a win-win situation for all.
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