Friday, July 25, 2008

Converting cow waste could generate billions of kilowatt hours

Part of the reason the meat industry is so harmful for the environment is the waste livestock produce. Cow manure for example releases brutal greenhouse gasses like nitrous oxide (warms the atmosphere 310-times more than CO2) and methane (21-times the warming power as CO2) as it decomposes. But we could mitigate this impact and give our electrical grid a boost by converting cow waste into energy, according to a report at ScienceDaily.

Via a process called "anaerobic digestion" (think composting), cow manure can be converted into biogas. If you do this with all the cow manure in the country, "the US could produce approximately 100 billion kilowatt hours of electricity." Bear in mind, this is 100 billion kilowatts we won't need from burning coal or natural gas, so we're cutting down on CO2 emissions there.

All together, converting cow manure into energy could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 99 million metric tons (four percent of total annual emissions) and provide three percent of our energy.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.