Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Manure power goes live in Texas

In some places they call that the smell of money. One way this works, which I think we can expect to become more common, is to collect biological material such as manure and run it through a biodigester. If you let biological material sit around, in the right circumstances, it will pretty much automatically start to rot, right? And the smell of rotting biological material is often a fuel, methane, which can be burned. And, yes, one should think back to the keepers of the blue flame.

While methane is a hydrocarbon, and while it's generally recognized carbon in the atmosphere means global warming, this non-fossil hydrocarbon is not a problem.

The problem is when we dig up fossilized hydrocarbons and burn that. This adds carbon into the ecosphere, carbon that had been sequestered millions of hears ago. But methane produced from manure, as well as other forms of biofuels, is derived from carbon already in the ecosphere.

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