Heat Your House With Cow Poop. No, Really!
A Maine company plans to start converting cow manure into natural gas, which would then be used to heat homes.
The obvious first question is, how will the natural gas smell? Because eau de cow poop is a powerfully unpleasant thing. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the manure is fed into an anaerobic digester, which is totally enclosed, so the smell released while processing is greatly reduced. And the product that comes out of the digester is 'much less odorous' than what goes in.
Summit Natural Gas plans to put the anaerobic digestion facility in Clinton, which is where 17% of Maine's dairy farms are located. But dairy farms around the state will provide the manure, that will then be heated and decomposed, converting it into biogas. That biogas will then be sold to third parties so they can reach their emission goals.
Why cow manure? Because the biomethane created by it is nearly identical to natural gas, and can be used for heating and cooking. And it's a renewable resource, because, well, cow's produce it all the time. Plus, loading all that stuff into a digester and making it into gas means that less of the methane is released into the atmosphere, which is great to help control climate change.
Many years ago, I rode in a car at the University of Maine that was powered by chicken poop, so I get how this works. It's a pretty cool idea (not as udderly ridiculous as it sounds at first) and just another way that Maine is MOO-ving into the future. (Sorry. I couldn't resist.)