Ameren Pilot Project Explores Converting Hog Manure Gas to Electricity

MISSOURI - Ameren's Renewable Energy Department is working with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the University of Illinois-Chicago to study a number of renewable energy options in using methane gas from hog manure to generate heat and power at a farm in Carlyle, Illinois.
calendar icon 27 March 2007
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"This project is consistent with our mission to promote efficient onsite power generation. Our hope is that the findings of the study will not only allow this project to move forward, but will provide critical data needed to complete similar projects in the state."
:Steffen Mueller, the University of Illinois at Chicago's Energy Resources Center

Ameren contracted with Roseville, Minnesota-based energy consultants to conduct a feasibility study that will conclude at the end of May 2007. If the results are favorable, Ameren would work to have an anaerobic digester and generator installed by the end of the year.

Manure collected from the farm would be stored in the digester. Methane gas would then be siphoned off the manure and used to power the generator, which may have the potential to produce between 200 and 400 kilowatts (kW) of electricity. The electricity would be used by the farm, which has a peak electric demand of more than 700 kW. The heat created by the generator would be used to heat the digester.

"The primary benefit would be renewable energy credits, or CO2 offset credits, that Ameren could obtain to use in responding to various future government initiatives," said Ameren Strategic Analyst Paul Pike. Methane is 21 times as potent as carbon dioxide (CO2), meaning that each one-ton emission of methane gas captured and converted to energy equals 21 tons of CO2 not released into the environment. Steffen Mueller of the University of Illinois at Chicago's Energy Resources Center says the university will provide approximately 12% of the funding for the feasibility study with Ameren supplying the remainder.

Source: RenewableEnergyAccess
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