One of the key pieces in building systems that are more sustainable is the idea of using waste as a resource, especially those waste products that aren’t avoidable. It’s one thing to reduce the amount of waste that gets produced from processes, but if there really isn’t a way to reduce that waste, which is the case when it comes to animal manure, then being able to convert it into clean energy is the next best thing.
Biogas isn’t a new concept, and it’s being integrated into a number of industrial operations, from breweries to public transport, but according to Green Cross International, an innovative method is being used to convert animal waste, such as manure, into biogas for half the price as “existing biogas facilities in Europe.”
“Nobody else has been able to come up with an effective, economical way to convert manure into environmentally friendly, organic source of energy.” – Sergey Baranovsky, President of Green Cross Russia
This new biogas method, dubbed the Green Cross Method, was developed on a farm on the outskirts of Moscow, and is currently being used to process the manure from about 200 cows, where it converts the wastes into a biogas composed of 80% methane within 36 to 48 hours. The plant burns the methane to produce both heat and clean energy, and its use keeps carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane from being released into the atmosphere.
Although the current operation is only processing manure from several hundred cows, Baranovsky says that for plants producing biogas from more than 700 cows, the cost works out to half that of other methods, and could yield a return on investment from biogas energy production in a year and a half, which is just a fraction of the time necessary for standard biogas facilities.
“Our method will give the agricultural sector ‘tools’ to prevent pollution of the atmosphere.” – Baranovsky
The energy generated by this new biogas plant is being used to power agriculture and livestock facilities at a farm operated by the Russian Institute of Livestock, and there are plans to promote this model to farms in neighboring states.