Anyone hooked up to the grid in British Columbia can now make good on beef-eating and dairy consumption. The province’s Cowpower program gives people the option to pay a small premium on their utility bill to help pay off a dairy farmer’s investment into an anaerobic digester - so that heat-trapping methane can be used to make power.
Anaerobic digestion uses bacteria to break down organic matter, releasing a biogas that can be used to run a generator. There are more than 6 thousand anaerobic digesters in Germany, but North America is just catching on. An estimated 176 anaerobic digesters were operation in the US at the end of 2011, but so far, BC has just one.
The average cow expels between 200 to 400 pounds of methane per year, and for that, the United Nations has called livestock one of the most serious threats to the global climate. For more on cows as a climate menace, check out this video.
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