Environment

A Crap Idea? Dairy Co-Op Claims Cow-Poo Bio-Gas Could Solve Energy Problems

A cowJames TweediePeople have been using poop as a stinky form of fuel for as long as they have been farming animals. But recent years have seen a renewed interest in the use of manure as an energy source as some nations seek to replace fossil fuels.The solution to the energy crisis and global warming could come from an unexpected quarter — cows’ backsides.That’s according to the UK’s largest dairy farming cooperative Arla, which says manure could be converted into bio-gas and used to heat buildings or power vehicles.They say the 91 million tons of slurry — liquid animal dung — and 10 million tons of food waste produced every year could generate 8 billion cubic metres of methane gas as it decomposes.That would be enough for heating and cooking in 6.4 million homes or to run 3.8 million lorries and buses converted to burn gas.

"We’re clear about the opportunity presented by waste from farming and the wider food industry," said Arla's vice-president of UK logistics James Pirie. “We’ve shown that poo power is a viable and reliable source of energy, so we’re calling for the Government to support British farmers and the waste and energy sectors with their plans for investment in infrastructure.”

In a 2020 trial run, the firm turned the waste of 500 cows into 27,000 litres of fuel which it used to power two of its goods vehicles. It now has seven vehicles running on gas made from slurry and waste food from its distribution centre in Hatfield, Hertfordshire.As well as easing the energy crisis caused by sanctions and embargoes on Russia, the scheme could help the environment. Arla says trucks running on biogas would have only a fifth of the emissions of diesel vehicles, while the decaying biomass used to create it would make an eco-friendly fertiliser.ViralRoadkill-Eating, Dung-Smoking Iranian Who Hasn’t Bathed in 67 Years Reportedly in ‘Good Health’20 January, 07:47 GMTArla, which markets a brand of filtered longer-life dairy products, represents some 2,100 dairy farmers in the UK.The idea of using manure for energy is nothing new — people have been burning dried dung to heat their homes for millennia. ‘Dungcakes’ are used for cooking fires across south and central Asia.Since 2011, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has advocated for people in developing countries to collect human faeces in ‘dry toilets’ to burn as part of its “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge”.

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