The next time you buy L'Oreal haircare products, you can tell everyone that your sweet-smelling locks come courtesy of cow manure. The cosmetics company is powering one of its haircare factories in Belgium with poop beginning later this summer. L'Oreal's Libramont plant will use an anaerobic digestion system to gather methane from waste biomass and turn it into electricity and heat.
The Belgium plant was chosen due to its proximity to a cattle-farming area. Initially, the plant will use a mix of biomass and corn, but will soon switch over to pure biomass. The biomass will eventually provide the Libramont plant with up to 85% of its power.
L'Oreal's poop-powered plant is just one part of its plan to slash carbon emissions from factories and plants by 50% in 2015 (based on a 2005 baseline). L'Oreal is also working to cut water use by 30% to 35% through widespread use of steam-cleaning technology and rainwater-harvesting techniques.
The Belgium plant is far from the first to use methane power. Companies including Fujifilm, BMW, and Mars also use methane to juice up their factories.