Study shows biomethane may substitute as vehicle fuel

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Methane gas derived from dairy manure offers a substitute for natural gas that can power motor vehicles and generate electricity, according to a study by a collaboration of energy, dairy and environmental groups.

Known as biomethane, the gas is entirely renewable, environmentally friendly and can be produced locally, according to a release from the Western United Dairymen.

Biomethane from Dairy Waste: A Sourcebook for the Production and Use of Renewable Natural Gas in California represents a collaboration among experts from a wide range of specialties, including advanced transportation technologies, alternative fuels, dairy operations and environmental impacts. The study was funded by a grant from the USDA Rural Development.

Project partners include Western United Dairymen, Sustainable Conservation, Institute for Environmental Management, Great Valley Center, CalStart and RCM Digesters.

“It is not actually the manure we’ll put in the tank,” said Paul Martin, environmental services director of Western United Dairymen. “We’ll use the gas that forms when manure is processed in a methane digester and then upgraded to vehicle fuel quality. More than a dozen methane digesters are operating or under construction on dairy farms in California. Dairy farmers in New York, Wisconsin and other states are also discovering the economic, environmental and community benefits of locally produced energy.”

“Unlike ethanol and biodiesel, biomethane receives no direct government funding or incentives. To quickly achieve the full potential of biomethane, the federal and state governments must support development of the technology, market development, programmatic infrastructure and a regulatory environment that will allow rapid development of this practical and renewable domestic energy resource,” said Michael Marsh, CEO of Western United Dairymen.

Biomethane from Dairy Waste: A Sourcebook for the Production and Use of Renewable Natural Gas in California is available by clicking here.

Western United Dairymen



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