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Cargill Adds Second Dairy Farm Methane-to-Power Digester

cows2An anaerobic digester on an Idaho dairy farm is helping convert manure from 6,000 cattle into about a million kilowatt hours of electricity every month, according to Environmental Protection.

This is Cargill’s second such plant. The first has been operating since 2008 at another area dairy plant. Both of the dairies are operated in Idaho by Bettencourt Dairy.

The digester works by putting the manure into a massive, sealed, in-ground vessel that is free from oxygen. Bacteria in the mix anaerobically break down the manure into methane gas, which is captured and burned in generators.

Cargill sells the electricity to the grid, according to FinChannel.

Last year, Cargill registered and sold 400,000 tons of emission offsets from an Alberta beef operation through the Canadian Standards Association.

Those offsets come from a wastewater treatment system at Cargill’s plant in High River, Alberta, which capture methane from the plant’s wastewater lagoons for fuel. As a result, the system uses 25 percent less natural gas.

Similarly, Cargill plans to generate and sell emissions offsets from its Idaho dairy methane plants.

The first Idaho dairy plant is expected to produce about 1.3 million kWh of electricity a month, and Cargill is trying to sell 28,000 tons of emission offsets related to that project.

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