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California looks to power cities with cow poop

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Michael Bastasch Contributor
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Happy cows come from California and produce renewable energy. One California dairy farm is looking to generate green power from cow manure.

The Antonio Brasil Dairy farm in northern California has a renewable energy project to capture methane gas from cow manure and curb nitrate levels. The ranch is expected to generate 250 kilowatts of electricity. The project is being touted by politicians as a way for dairy farms across to curb nitrate levels and produce energy.

“(The system) might be a breakthrough, a breakthrough in a challenge that has faced the dairy industry throughout this country and in California,” California Democratic Rep. Jim Costa told the Merced Sun-Star.

“What we’re really talking about here is protecting water resources, protecting the air quality and climate and creating a renewable energy stream,” Costa added.

The system at Antonio Brasil Dairy “moves the manure and urine through six 20,000-gallon steel tanks, which breaks up solid pieces and heats it to 135 degrees,” reports the International Business Times. “The tanks pasteurize the waste to eliminate infectious organisms and sterilize the manure. Methane gas then bubbles to the top and is filtered into a co-generating system.”

California’s cows produce about 35 million tons of manure every day, which is full of pollutants that harm water and air quality. Antonio Brasil cows will produce about 360,000 pounds of manure and urine every day — about half of which can be turned into energy.

“We have an opportunity before us in the coming decades to become not just a leader in food production, but a leader in energy production,” said Merced Assemblyman Adam Gray.

According to the American Council on Renewable Energy, there are about 100 cow manure-powered facilities across the country.

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