The Global View

Cow poo plant gets $66 million

manure.jpgGreenbang is sure she doesn’t have to tell you that there’s more than enough crap being slung around in the world of eco-business at the moment. Luckily, some of that crap, in the form of cow manure, is soon to be turned into lovely renewable energy.

Yup, last month the delightfully named Human BioSystems and Dairy Development Group buddied up to form Environmental BioMass Energy (EBE), a company who, in their own words, make energy from “waste biomass such as cow manure”.

Greenbang likes the term waste biomass as a euphemism for poo. She’s heard a lot of companies talking waste biomass when it comes to renewable energy.

But back to Environmental BioMass Energy: the company has just announced it will provide financing of $66 million for a new plant that will translate cow manure into 20 MW of energy.

The plant will use “a thermal gasification conversion process”, according to EBE. Greenbang’s not a science major, but she suspects that sounds like “we’ll get energy from burning poo”.

More info from EBE:

[CEO Len Chapman said:] “The energy park is in the central dairy corridor in close proximity to 200,000 dairy animals. The facility is strategically located to take advantage of the extensive dairy industry in central California. It will also provide a clean, reliable solution to the increasingly pressing issue of waste manure management in a state with an enormous dairy-based agribusiness.”

According to EBE, California’s 1.5 million dairy cows produce over 48 million tons of waste in a year. Cow manure contains nitrogenous compounds that overwhelm waterways and precipitate algal blooms. In addition, manure can pollute groundwater and wells thus compromising safe human water consumption. Dairies are the single largest source of water pollution in several large California counties. EBE’s unique approach will provide a solution to these difficult problems.