Farmers are turning cow poo into power with batteries created from cow pat
A kilogram of cow poo can produce enough electricity to power a vacuum cleaner for five hours – so dairy cooperative Arla’s herd of 460,000 could fuel 1.2 million UK homes
A group of British farmers are turning cow poo into cow POWER – in the form of AA-size “patteries”.
The rechargeable “patteries” could be one part of Britain’s renewable energy solution, as 1kg of cow poo can produce 3.75 kwh of electricity.
This is enough energy to power a vacuum cleaner for five hours, or do 3.5 hours of ironing.
Dairy cooperative Arla, which developed the batteries with battery expert, GP Batteries, claim the energy created from the waste of a single cow could power three households for a year.
As a result, its 460,000-strong herd could fuel an “udderly amazing” 1.2m UK homes.
Having a reliable and consistent source of power, like cow slurry – which Arla produces more than 1m tonnes of annually – could provide new opportunities to power homes and transport.
The slurry is turned into energy via a process called anaerobic digestion.
Arla farmer Neil Ridgway said: “There is so much potential for innovations such as anaerobic digestion to contribute to the UK’s renewable energy needs while reducing farm emissions with something readily available on our farms – poo.
“On my farm, we already use the energy produced from cow slurry to power our entire estate, but this could go so much further.
“We are even able to use the by-product of the process as a natural fertiliser on our land and thereby closing the loop – it’s a win-win situation.”
During the process of anaerobic digestion, organic matter such as animal waste is broken down to produce biogas and bio-fertiliser.
This process happens in the absence of oxygen in a sealed, oxygen-free tank called an anaerobic digester – and the end product is biogas.
Once the biogas is cleaned, it is taken to a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit, where it is used to generate renewable energy.
The end product is nutrient-rich, reduced-emission, natural fertiliser, that can be put back on the land to help nourish the soil.
Graham Wilkinson, group agriculture director at Arla, added: “Arla is committed to sustainable farming and reducing emissions from food production.
“Our farmers are constantly exploring innovative solutions, and following our poo-powered transport trials last year it’s clear we have only just scratched the surface.
“Arla farms are home to around 460,000 cows that provide a steady source of slurry – in other words, poo – that can be turned into power that has the potential to make a considerable contribution to Britain’s renewable energy quota.
“A small number of our farmer-owners are already turning cow poo into energy.
“If the Government and the energy industry could see the potential, the scaling up of cow power could be a game-changer for the UK’s renewable energy supply, whilst also helping reduce emissions in farming.”