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PG&E Turns Cow Manure Into Energy

by, March 5, 2008

FRESNO, Calif., -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company has started up a project turning methane into energy. The cow-powered initiative will prevent greenhouse gas emissions as well as help PG&E reach state mandates on renewable energy.

BioEnergy Solutions is teaming up with PG&E to pipe in methane produced from cow manure. The project began yesterday at the 5,000-cow Vintage Dairy, owned by the founder of BioEnergy, David Albers.

Located in Fresno County, Calif., Vintage Dairy dumps manure from its cows into a covered lagoon, where methane produced from the waste is trapped, cleaned to remove corrosive materials and delivered to PG&E to provide renewable electricity. A second farm in Fresno County, the Pier van der Hoek dairy, has signed onto the project and will provide methane from 6,400 cows.

While providing energy from a renewable source, the project also keeps methane, a greenhouse has more potent than carbon dioxide, out of the air. BioEnergy estimates the installation at Vintage Dairy will reduce the farm's methane emissions by 70 percent, and the company is under contract with PG&E to provide 3 billion cubic feet of biogas a year.

The venture adds to PG&E's renewable energy portfolio, which includes wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydroelectric power, and helps it meet the California mandate saying each utility must get 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2010. PG&E expects 14 percent of its energy to be from renewables this year and has signed contracts for the remaining 6 percent.

Related Pages:
Wind Blowing Money Farmers' Way by Ted Sickinger, Seattle Times, 2/19/8
Poop Power? Sewage Turned into Electricity by Ted Sickinger, MSNBC, 7/19/4
PG&E Turns Cow Manure Into Energy, March 5, 2008

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