In Cirencester, United Kingdom, a new (and potentially smelly!) energy resource is being explored at the biogas power station this month.
Hundreds of pounds of chicken manure from many local farms are being used to convert the odourful substance into biogas in an anaerobic digester. Pig manure and other agricultural waste are also being used along with the chicken feces to be converted into biogas.
Local farmers benefit greatly from this - they are paid for the waste, and also receive free heat for their farms.
Biogas plants can use the animal waste products by creating high temperatures that cause the manure to release a bounty of methane-rich gases. This gas is then captured and burned in a generator to produce renewable electricity and heat.
Approximately 1 megawatt hours of energy will be produced from the biogas plant, which is enough to supply about 350 houses with electricity. By-products from this process can be used as fertilizer as well.
Biogas is becoming increasingly more popular in Asia and Europe – and similar ideas have been instilled in areas of Canada and the US. The idea of renewable energy is one we should think more about as individuals, and with that, we should actively support and invest in more biogas plants in the near future. It shows a promising future for local power generation and an excellent alternative (but, admittedly, not a complete replacement) to fossil fuel burning.
We can all benefit from turning poo into something new!