Manure From 4,000 Cows Powers Ukraine Milk Factory

GE biogas plant

Manure-powered biogas facilities are becoming increasingly popular around the world, with companies ranging from L'Oreal to Beijing's Deqingyuan Chicken Farm getting on board. Now the Ukraine Milk Company is banking on 4,000 cows and a GE biogas engine to juice up a factory that produces milk for baby nutrition products.

The combined heat and power (CHP) plant—the first biogas cogeneration plant in the Ukraine—has successfully been powering the Ukraine Milk Company's factory for 9 months with 625 kW of electricity and 686 kW of thermal output. That's enough to fully power the factory and sell energy back to the grid. The advantages of using poop power are threefold: UMC improves its factory efficiency, cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions, and keeps excess manure out of the waste stream. After UMC's manure goes through its biogas plant, leftovers can be used as agricultural fertilizer.

Potential entrants in GE's just-announced $200 million Ecomagination Challenge, take note—GE is gassed up about manure. The corporation is building the world’s largest cow manure-powered biogas project at Liaoning Huishan Cow Farm in China, and last year GE biogas engines started powering China’s largest chicken waste biogas-energy plant. Poop is, apparently, the way to win GE's heart.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

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  • Jessica Hasenplaugh

    This sounds so promising! I'd love to see a follow up story, explaining how they extract the energy out of the manure. - Jessica Hasenplaugh

  • scott griffis

    This is a great way to get rid of poop and make it something useful, but I have to wonder how clean this stuff really burns and if it would be better to just move to nuclear and solar. I think there is already enough crap in our air.