PO Box 1146
Salida, CO USA  81201
(719) 539-0300
Fax: (719) 539-0301


BBI International... Your Biofuels Resource


Event Calendar

World Biofuels Symposium
November 13-15, 2005
Beijing, China

2nd Annual Canadian Renewable Fuels Summit
December 13-15, 2005
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Hosted by:
Candadian Renewable Fuels Association

National Biodiesel Conference & Expo 2006
February 5-8, 200
San Diego, California
National Biodiesel Board

11th Annual National Ethanol Conference: "Policy & Marketing"
February 20-22, 200
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Sponsored by:
Renewable Fuels Association

22nd Annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo
June 20-23, 200
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Join our
Email Subscription List

Select your topics of interest for regular and timely updates - control your subscriptions and unsubscribe anytime

Complete Listing of Upcoming Events

Event History

Free Booklet Download:
Fuel Ethanol: A Technological Evolution



Posted on  

November 26, 2001

Future of Manure Bio-Gas Explored

By GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press Writer

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - After three decades of dealing with the squishy, stinking byproduct of his family's business, dairy farmer Bernie Faber may finally get some benefit from the 24 tons of manure his herd produces each day.

Faber is betting on something called a methane digester, a developing technology that will turn cow manure into much-needed electricity and help him comply with tightening federal environmental standards.

``It's a good gamble,'' said Faber, owner of Cal-Gon Farms in Salem. ``We've seen the brownouts in California and we've also seen our electricity rates substantially raised here. As the cost of energy gets higher, these types of projects will be more attractive.''

In a few months, Faber will be able to dump steaming manure from his 400 milk cows into a heated tank and wait as an anaerobic digester converts it into 100 kilowatts of electricity - enough to power 74 homes.

``It's not like wind, where you get electricity only when the wind's blowing, or solar energy, where you only get power when the sun's shining,'' said Jeff Cole, bio-gas program manager for Portland General Electric, the local utility. ``Cows are producing manure constantly.''

Anaerobic digestion got its start during the energy crisis of the 1970s, but most digesters failed because farmers weren't trained how to maintain the complex machines, or simply lost interest once energy prices decreased.

Currently, there are only 31 digesters on commercial livestock farms nationwide and only 14 on dairy farms, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (news - web sites)'s AgStar program.

But a growing energy crisis - particularly in the West - has renewed interest in the technology.

Earlier this year, Tinedale Farms in Wrightstown, Wis., began operating a methane digester that produces enough electricity to power 225 homes. In 1999, a swine farm in Iowa started a methane digester with help from the state government.

In California, a state hard-hit by the energy crisis, state lawmakers have provided $15 million for the development of anaerobic digestion technology. A $10 million grant program approved last summer also helps dairies pay for the expensive digesters.

What makes the Cal-Gon Farms digester unique in a growing market is that it is entirely paid for and maintained by Portland General Electric, which supplies 730,000 Oregon homes and businesses with power.

PGE is also footing the bill for a digester at the 6,800-cow ThreeMile Canyon Farm in Eastern Oregon, one of the largest dairy farms in the nation and the largest to be fitted with an anaerobic digester to date. The system in Boardman will handle about 675 tons of manure each day and produce four megawatts of power - enough to light 2,500 homes.

ThreeMile Canyon's digester will cost PGE about $16 million. The utility would not reveal its investment in the Cal-Gon Farms system.

The experimental systems result from a partnership between the Oregon Dairy Farmers Association and PGE. It marks the first time a utility has coordinated with farmers to develop an economically feasible digester at the utility's expense, said Jim Crahn, executive director for the farmers association.

PGE plans to build experimental digesters at two more Oregon dairies next year. Requests from farmers as far away as New Mexico have poured in as word spreads about PGE's unusual project.

Dairy farmers say the methane digesters will help them comply with stricter federal regulations limiting phosphate levels in the soil that are expected by late 2002.

The machines will also cut back on manure ``lagoons'' where cow waste stagnates during the winter months, slowly burping methane gas into the atmosphere. And they should reduce odor problems that have led to contentious ``sniff tests'' by environmental regulators in several other states, farmers say.



Other News

Click here to see previously posted News items in our Archive

BBI Store

BBI International
Project Development

Multi Client Study:

More information and contents

BBI Online Store


Biodiesel Industry Directory Online:
View it FREE!


Home | Company Info | International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Trade Show | Biofuels Recruiting | BBI Media

Biofuels Project Development - Biofuels Conference & Event Planning - BBI Media - Biofuels Recruiting

All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner.
Remainder of content Copyright © 2005 BBI International.