Making Clean, Green Energy from Animal Waste
Methane Recovery Project Aben is a combined heat and power plant that uses biogas produced by methane from the manure of livestock, resulting in electricity for the local power grid. The project is located in the town of Wanroij in The Netherlands.
Agricultural operations have been shaping the landscape and the way of life in the Dutch province of North Brabant for several hundred years. This is a mostly rural region with relatively little heavy industry, and where the agro-swine industry plays a significant role. The concentration of livestock in this area has led to a situation in which the resulting animal waste can no longer be disposed of in the traditional manner – storing in open lagoons to later spread as fertilizer on farm fields. As the waste breaks down in these open lagoons, it emits methane, which is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Thus the need for responsible animal waste treatment and the production of biogas.
Biogas is the mixture of gases produced by the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen, primarily consisting of methane and carbon dioxide. Biogas can be produced from agricultural waste, manure, municipal waste, plant material, sewage, green waste, or food waste. Biogas is a source of renewable energy.
Methane Recovery Project Aben is based on a livestock farm in the town of Wanroij. At this farm, animal waste is collected from its own stock and the many pig farms in southeastern Netherlands. The waste is converted into biogas, which powers irrigation pumps that previously used diesel fuel. It also fuels electric generators. Electricity in excess of the farm’s needs goes into the local power grid. Waste heat from the process helps dry any remaining animal waste, making it more suitable as fertilizer.
In addition to preventing dangerous methane from entering the atmosphere, Methane Recovery Project Aben improves the local soil and air quality. It also creates sustainable, long-term employment in the region and provides nutrient-rich fertilizer to farms in the area. The project also displaces the need for fossil fuel power generation in the province of North Brabant.
PROJECT sustainability GOALS
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