1 September 2002
Farmers look to waste as much energy as possible
Green Bay, Wis.—Not only do farmers make a living off of their cattle, but they may also soon make a pile of money off of what those cows leave behind.
Environmental Power just obtained the North American license for an anaerobic digestion technology—a method of producing renewable energy generated by methane gas extracted from animal wastes—through its acquisition of Microgy Cogeneration Systems, Inc., now a company subsidiary.
The methane will produce 10 megawatts of peak power at electric generating facilities built on the farms and operated by Environmental Power. The generating plants should be up and running by August 2003, officials said.
The farm facilities will generate two-thirds of the electricity required under the contract. Company officials expect additional farms to sign on, providing the remainder of the power.
"Rather than incurring significant costs to address the problem, farmers can actually add to their bottom lines," said Donald A. Livingston, president and chief operating officer of Microgy. "It is another important step in the process of realizing our mission to produce renewable energy from animal wastes while helping control water and air pollution stemming from animal feeding operations and addressing the nation's need for renewable green power that is both reliable and cost efficient."
Environmental Power's anaerobic digestion systems will help animal feeding operations meet Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Agriculture pollution standards. These agencies have identified animal feeding operations as the greatest contributors to the problem of excess mineral pollutants in water runoff, the most significant remaining source of water pollution.
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