Why is it that Texas so totally gets it on energy while other states lurch around? Texas is the US leader in wind energy, has a completely self-contained power grid, is installing the first offshore wind power in the country, and now San Antonio is turning sewage into an income stream.
Poop from a dairy farm will be converted to biogas and will provide heat for up to 1,100 homes. Not only is this recycling at its best, it also saves diary farms time, money, and hassles because they don’t have to maintain gigantic manure ponds.
Loblaw’s will now send scraps from their 47 stores to StormFisher biogas plants to be converted into energy. Not only does this cut down on carbon emissions, it creates a new revenue stream from something that previously had to be sent to a landfill.
This biodigester produces enough cooking gas for a family in Costa Rica from manure from grass-fed cows. That means they don’t have to buy gas they can barely afford and have to travel long distances to get. Seems like this could be used all over the world.
Here’s how it works, with full instructions on how to build one. Thomas Carmona spent two years there helping build them and blogs about that and related matters at GreenEnergyVideos.
Waste Management is creating electricity from rotting garbage at 100 of its landfills, and plans more such projects. This is a double win, as the methane gas produced by the garbage has a 21 times worse greenhouse gas effect than carbon dioxide. But now it can be captured to create energy rather than being emitted into the atmosphere.
You’d think enviros would applaud this, but no.
Nathanael Greene, director of renewable energy policy for the Natural Resources Defence Council, said touting the benefits of landfills was akin to putting “lipstick on a pig.” Instead, we should be trying harder to reduce waste.
Well of course we need to reduce waste. But criticizing the capture of noxious methane for good use is emblematic of the old-school environmentalism that insists we must cut back on everything and go live in yurts as penance for our environmental sins. They don’t get, or refuse to get, that technology and more than a few large corporations can and are providing solutions.
It won’t be those living in yurts that create a renewable energy economy. Rather, it will happen as a result of the efforts of large corporations and governments, because they are the only ones with the resources to do so. Enviros need to praise and encourage such entities when they do the right thing, not myopically attack them for not being pristinely perfect.
And more! Biogas can be produced any numbers of ways, often from that which would have been burned or put into landfills as waste. This includes animal and human waste too. In fact, biogas can be produced from landfills too.
From Greenpeace UK comes the absolutely dazzling and informative EfficienCity, a Flash animation of how a town could be designed to create renewable, clean energy. You can drill down to various sections of town, see how the grids work, then view videos detailing specific methods of power generation and more. Bravo!