Integrated Manure Utilization Systems

The idea behind the Discovery show Invention Nation is good: Send three hipster dudes around the country in a bio-diesel bus, looking for interesting technological environmental solutions. Unfortunately, the show is poorly produced and executed, but the ideas in it are interesting enough that it’s kept me watching.

Cool to see a piece recently on Integrated Manure Utilization Systems (IMUS). There’s a butt-load (sorry) of usable methane gas locked in the manure that gets discarded by the ton at dairies and stock yards around the world. An IMUS system involves strategically placed floor grates in cattle yards, into which manure can be pushed. From there, it’s chopped, mixed with water, and placed in large holding tanks. Bacteria go to work on the sludge and methane rises to the top, where it’s burned (cleanly) to create electricity.

How effective is the process? The dairy farm visited by the Invention Nation guys had 250 cattle, and was able to generate enough electricity not only to power itself, but 150 average-sized households as well. And the equipment investment pays off in 5-7 years.

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association says the range of benefits from IMUS include:

  • Reduced manure handling costs
  • Protection of water resources
  • Odour reduction
  • Recycling of waste water
  • Reduced energy costs
  • Value-added revenue from the sale of energy and bio-based fertilizer
  • Strengthening agriculture’s reputation of environmentally sustainable resource management

Imagine if every dairy and cattle yard installed their own IMUS – the enviro benefits would be immense.

Music: Son House :: Empire State Express

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