A German Town Embraces Manure Energy

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Lünen, Germany is about to get a whole lot smellier now that it's set to become the world's first town to be powered by animal waste. The town will use biogas from cow and horse manure to power a biogas plant, that will produce 6.8 MW of power--enough for 30-40% of Lünen's overall needs. Biogas technology isn't new, but this is the first time it will be used to power a town.

The biogas plant, set to go into operation later this year, works by putting animal waste and spoiled crops into heated tanks. Fermentation breaks down the waste into methane and CO2, the ingredients of natural gas. The biogas is burned for electricity and heat in the town's combined heat and power plants (CHP). Once Lünen's biogas pipeline is complete, it will be used to transfer gas across town.

While Lünen's CHP plants are camouflaged as decorative installations, there will be no escaping the funky smell in the surrounding area. Still, local governments in London, Manchester and Glasgow are considering similar biogas projects. And why not? Smells aside, biogas is a more cost-effective way to harness renewable energy than expensive wind farms and solar projects.

[Via UK Guardian]

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