Anaerobic digesters which are starting to be utilized, can turn farm manure into fuel, instead of letting the powerful greenhouse gases, particularly methane, escape into the atmosphere.
Poo really does matter. Methane from an anaerobic digester burns clean, and although it emits some CO2 it’s not adding new and additional CO2 into the atmosphere. Rather, it’s recycling it as the plants and food the animals eat are converted from gas to solid to gas again.
Dan Andersen, who goes by the Twitter handle @DrManure, is an agricultural and biosystems engineer at Iowa State University where he teaches manure management. When asked about the varying waste production of farm animals, Andersen shared these factoids and added an interesting sidetone, “Most animals poo and pee, but chickens do both at the same time.”
- Beef steer — 64 pounds per day
- Pig — 10 pounds per day
- Dairy cow — 150 pounds per day
- Laying chicken — 0.19 pounds per day
Other countries have been focusing on recycling this natural, never ending resource, while the U.S. focused on ethanol, that consumes significant amounts of a direct product – corn