Northwest Renewable News

Your Daily Source for Renewable Energy News in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana & Northern California

WWU Gets Grant To Convert Cow Manure To Fuel September 3, 2009

Western Washington University’s Vehicle Research Institute has been awarded a $500,000 grant for turning cow manure into clean-burning bio-methane for vehicles.

Part of the funding from the Department of Energy will go toward placing new engines in three buses used by Bellingham’s Bellair Charters.

Not only will the busses produce a fraction of the CO2, but they are also using a renewable resource made from cow manure, which would ordinarily just add its greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, according to VRI Director Eric Leonhardt.

The bio-methane used to power the buses comes from a dairy digester at the Vander Haak Dairy in Lynden.

Manure is put into the digester, which separates the solids from the gases, Leonhardt explained.

The gases are then run through a “scrubber,” to make them clean and ready to burn in a combustion engine.

Leonhardt said Whatcom County cows alone could produce enough bio-methane to run every car, truck, bus and piece of farm equipment in the county.

Tracy Ellis, KGMI (AM)


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