Californians May Soon Be Cooking With Cow Power

With the largest dairy herds in the U.S., California could generate up to 5% of its natural gas from cow manure.
July 13, 2006, 5am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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Looking to utilize a process already used in other states and countries, a major California utility is making plans to distribute natural gas generated from cow excrement collected at Central Valley dairies.

"Turning dairies into the equivalent of gas fields is, in some ways, relatively simple. Manure is collected and dumped into a tank that removes oxygen and controls the temperature. Bacteria break down the waste and release gas -- mostly methane and carbon dioxide."

"This is a big experiment for us to see how a process like this can work," stated Bob Howard, PG&E vice president in charge of gas distribution.

"Under Howard's best-case scenario, PG&E might be able to get 5 percent of its gas from farms in 10 to 15 years."

Thanks to Darrell Waller

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Published on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 in The San Francisco Chronicle
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