Sunday, October 21, 2007

Cow Power

In our world today, the most common energy sources are derived from consumable resources. As powerful as they maybe, they usually are extremely “dirty.” Oil, coal and nuclear power are extremely effective in powering a city, but dump billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year. It is clear that these types of energy sources are becoming quickly dated and newer technology that could be more powerful and 100% green is paving the way for a cleaner world. Wind power is one of the cleanest and most effective ways to create energy. The power from the sun also is an enormous source of energy. But a source that few know about is “Cow Power”. My family in Vermont lives in a quaint town on several acres of land with no cows. What we try to do there is make the home as efficient as possible. We also have a garden of organic veggies. But our latest addition to helping “green” the world is an investment in energy credits from cow power. You may wonder how electricity is generated from cow manure. The answer is very simple. Manure is collected from the cows into a large concrete tank on various dairy farms. There it will sit for around three weeks. Bacteria “digest” the manure; much like the cows stomach digests feed. Methane gas is produced by the bacteria and it builds up in the tank, where a pipe then delivers it to a modified natural gas engine. The gas is then burned to generate electricity which is fed into the electrical grid where it goes into our home. The benefits from this are many. With anaerobic treatment, the waste significantly reduces odor and water-quality impacts of cow manure, killing pathogens and weed seeds. It also contributes largely to the economic steam of small organic farms. The methane is otherwise released into the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than CO2 at trapping heat into the atmosphere. In all, it is a smart way to be moving forward.
I also wanted to provide a visual of what the team has going on currently at the local races in Boulder; a small glimpse of what we’re doing and what we will be doing at the big USGP races throughout the year. Andrew, Yannick and Robin, nice race too! You guys ripped it up! 

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