Once again we are confronted with Einstein’s dictum that mass = energy.  In this case the mass is animal, food and agricultural waste and the converted energy is heat and electricity.

Cow manure is powering businesses in Canada’s province of British Columbia.  The Vancouver Sun writes about a dairy in the city of Abbotsford is producing 170,000 kilowatts of electricity per year from 1.6 million litres of manure and is supplying surplus electricity to the province’s power grid. That electricity is then resold at a 40% premium by the non-profit renewable energy supplier Cowpower to businesses and organizations that want to reduce their environmental impact.

“Our customers continue to pay their power bill (to BC Hydro) and in addition they pay us 4 cents per kilowatt hour and we pass that money — about three cents per kilowatt hour — back to the farmer to fund the anaerobic digesters,” said Cowpower spokesman Matt Dickson. “The companies can then say that they are using renewable energy from farms.”

Swine manure is producing electricity in the US state of North Carolina says the Greater Wilmington Business Journal. The Loyd Ray Farms Swine Waste-to-Energy Offsets Project in Yadkin County, generates electricity by burning the methane produced by hog waste. The anaerobic digestion process converts organic carbonaceous compounds to methane, which combusts in the microturbine to generate electricity. The microturbine generates over 0.5 megawatts of power per year. Local utility, Duke Energy, resells the electricity as part of its renewable energy mandated by the state.

Waste tomato leaves are producing energy in the UK. Horticultural Week tells us Cheshire tomato grower APS Salads has begun converting tomato leaves to energy via anaerobic digestion. The company produces more than six tonnes of tomato leaves a day that previously cost around £100,000 to dispose of in landfill. Now this waste is being converted into methane biogas to generate heat and electricity for the greenhouses on the property.

On the islands of Lakshadweep, off the south west coast of India, the inhabitants are converting coconut byproducts to energy. The Economic Times says coconut leaves, stem, husk and shells will replace diesel in the production of electricity. With millions of coconut trees on the islands, supply will never be an issue.

By-products from the cheese manufacturing process will be producing heat and electricity in the village of Turtle Lake in the US state of Wisconsin.  AGRI-VIEW reports the goal is to provide an alternative to land-spreading of cheese plant wastewater (high in organic content and phosphorus), while at the same time generate electrical power for nearby homes and businesses and providing cheaper heat for dairy plants. From 500,000 gallons of wastewater a day, GreenWhey Energy will produce enough methane biogas to produce 3.2 MW of electricity for some 3,000 homes . The power will be sold to utility Xcel Energy in Eau Claire. In addition, an estimated 140 million BTUs of heat will be generated to supply the hot-water needs of area dairy plants.

Food waste is producing heat and electricity in Oxfordshire in the UK we learn from Cogeneration & On-site Power Production. 45,000 tonnes of food waste originating in the county each year is converted by anaerobic digestion into electricity to power 6000 homes. The biogas engines are capable of producing a combined output of 4.7 MW of renewable energy in the form of 2.4 MWof electricity and 2.3 MW of heat. The heat is used to keep the digesters at the correct temperatures for the plants operation, and to pasteurise the food waste, hence ensuring the fertiliser quality meets the highest standards. The electricity is in turn exported to the local electricity grid delivering renewable power to the surrounding area.

The city of Klaipeda in Lithuania has a new combined heat and power plant reports smartmeters. The plant, the first of its kind in the Baltic region of Europe, uses municipal and industrial waste as well as biomass as fuels to provide district heating to city residents and businesses as well as electricity to the Lithuanian power grid.  The plant replaces natural gas-fired heat production in Klaipeda. It can incinerate 230 000 tonnes of waste and biomass year and produce approximately 140 GWh of electricity and 400 GWh of heat per year. This amounts to 40% of Klaipeda’s heating demand.

The Deccan Chronicle informs us power from biomass has begun in Visakhapatnam District on the east coast of India. Vishnu Vidyut India Limited is producing 7.5 MW of electricity from locally available agricultural waste. The electricity is being sent to the  AP Transmission Corporation’s grid at Narasingapally.

4-Traders reports that in Polaniec, Poland GDF SUEZ has opened the world’s largest electric generation unit fed entirely with biomass (by-products from tree farms and agriculture). With a capacity of 205 MW, the unit supplies the equivalent of the annual electric power consumption of 600,000 homes.

From Energy Live News we are informed that London’s modern art gallery, Tate Modern, will soon get its heating and hot water demand from waste heat recovered from an electricity substation. (See photo of the Tate Gallery below.) During the electricity distribution process heat loss from the transformers is released naturally into the air. UK Power Networks is now recovering this heat loss and one of its substations is recycling that heat into the adjoining art gallery.

Paul Dyer, UK Power Networks’ Transformer Specialist said: “In all the major cities in the world there will be lots of opportunities to install heat recovery. It can only work where the substation is in close proximity to the building using the heat and urban areas have the potential to work best.

“One of the barriers to implementing heat recovery on a wider scale at the moment are the initial capital costs. However, the hope is that as more of these projects are developed, the costs might be reduced.”



Tate Modern uses waste heat from electricity substation

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