Dairy Operation to Recycle Natural Waste of Cows into Fuel for Delivery Vehicles
Truckinginfo.com, October 14
Recycling waste is an integral part of sustainable living in both small-scale homes and large-scale industrial operations. Fair Oaks Farms, a dairy farm in northwestern Indiana, is taking this concept to a new level. They are implementing a plan to use cow manure to fuel the very trucks that deliver milk to processing plants throughout the Midwest.
The farms, which comprise 10 dairy farms in a co-op, have around 30,000 dairy cows at any given moment. On average, a cow produces 16 gallons of manure per day, putting the total amount of daily defecation at 480,000 gallons. That's an Olympic-sized swimming pool three-quarters full of dung and an enormous waste management problem. Or, if you're Mark Stoermann, project manager at Fair Oaks Farms, an enormous opportunity.
- As long as everything runs right, it will be a win-win-win, said Stoermann. When fully implemented, we should be very close to zero carbon footprint for operation of the trucks.
The other two wins, in addition to reduced carbon footprint, are money saved, and a significantly less stinky farm.
When all is said and done, the cow-powered trucks are expected to deliver 53 of 60 daily milk loads to three regional processing plants. This will displace some 1.5 million gallons of diesel fuel annually, and since the trucks will consume the noxious cow flatulence, that takes methane, 25 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than CO2, out of the atmosphere. That's why the trucks will be nearly carbon neutral when it comes to operations.