An ever-increasing quest to find solutions for rising power costs brought dairy farmer, Quentin Moxey closer to an innovative solution.
Mr Moxey, the owner of Moxey Farms recently stated that power costs had been increasing rapidly. So, they started looking for ways to drive down costs, when they realised that they were sitting on a source of energy – cow manure. The revelation of using cow manure (poo) to generate ‘green electricity’ and meet 100% of the farm’s power needs has reportedly become an Australian-first project.
The dairy at Gooloogong, west of Cowra in New South Wales’ Central West, will have the largest solely poo-powered generator. The Australian dairy has around 6000 head of cattle, and each cow is capable of producing around 30 kilograms of waste each day, which equates to around 5700 tonnes of dung in a year.
The Process: How it will work?
The process to be used at Moxey would involve flushing of manure into specially built pits. The liquids and the solids would be separated in the pits, and further processed through anaerobic fermentation, which is said to use micro-organisms to break down the waste. Next, the methane would be captured by the system during the bio-digestion process, as a burnable gas.
The project would produce three megawatts of renewable energy, which would displace the equivalent of around 25,000 tonnes of carbon that gets emitted through traditional coal-fired energy production.
In the context, Mr Moxey stated that the equivalent would take over 3600 homes or a large suburb off the electricity grid. He added that the project is expected to go live in late October or early November and it could offset 100% of their power consumption. The poo-powered farm would also facilitate applications like lighting, the pumping process, and the cooling of the milk.
The Road Ahead
Moxey farms would create sufficient energy to sell the excess generated back into the market and also create an additional revenue stream. The $20 million project has the backing of global bank HSBC. And, the project has a self-imposed mandate of investment of around $US100 billion by 2025 into sustainable energy generation and lower-carbon technologies. Meanwhile, Steve Hughes, HSBC Australia’s head of commercial banking, stated that they were excited by the idea and were looking to support clients like Moxey farms.
Mr Moxey stated that the process of approaching HSBC with the initial designs and concepts to loan approvals took around six months. In this context, Mr Hughes reiterated that it helped when clients already had the project fully scoped.
In conclusion, the renewable energy potential of poo is an idea definitely worth exploring.