Crap: lawmakers are full of it, utility companies want to make good use of it.
The Missouri Senate moved forward with a bill yesterday that would make the methane gas produced by animal waste a part of the state's renewable energy program for utility companies.
The proposed law (SB 848
) doesn't exactly pass the smell test when it comes to meeting the standards for environmentally efficient energy that were established by voters
That law requires power providers to draw 15 percent of their electricity from renewable resources (solar, hydropower, thermal, etc.) by 2021.
The latest proposal, from Sen. Frank Barnitz
, a Democrat from Lake Spring, would add methane gas produced by bacteria in animal waste and landfills to the list of acceptable forms of sustainable energy.
Trouble is, converting methane gas into electricity is still prohibitively expensive.
Here's how the process works, according to the AP via KMOX
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, pulling methane gas from waste uses a process called anaerobic digestion or methane recovery. Similar to how natural gas is created, anaerobic bacteria digest organic material when there is no oxygen and then produce biogas.
The bacteria must be kept at a consistent temperature around 98 degrees. The biodigester where waste is stored during the process can be very expensive and usually is more economically viable for large scale livestock operations that produce a lot of waste.
The report also states that "no investor-owned utility companies currently use methane gas" as a source of energy but AmerenUE plans to use a landfill in St. Louis to make methane energy starting next year. The Environmental Protection Agency counts 10 Missouri landfills that use their methane to generate electricity for municipal power providers.
If and/or when the technology catches up poop and methane would pretty much be the ultimate "sustainable" energy resource wouldn't it? Just feed the cows and wait for the fuel...
The bill was perfected yesterday by the Senate's rules committe and is scheduled to receive a third reading today.