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What’s Worth More: A Cow’s Milk or its Poop?

What’s Worth More: A Cow’s Milk or its Poop?

Anaerobic digesters turn cow manure into biogas. Like natural gas, biogas is mostly methane, so it can substitute for natural gas in electricity generation and powering vehicles. Last week, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released new data on the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program showing a big jump in the use of biogas from dairy farms to power vehicles.

Anaerobic digestion works by sealing manure in a giant pit to keep oxygen out while microbes feed on the contents, producing biogas as a byproduct. One of the first applications of this technology was in the late 1800s at a leper colony in Matunga, India. They captured gas from septic tanks to run a gas engine for pumping sewage, and also for lighting and cooking. Professor Gilbert Fowler took this picture of the digester for his 1934 book on biochemistry.

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