What happens when a Chinese dairy farm takes the excrement from 60,000 of its 250,000 cows and converts it into electricity? They generate 5.66 megawatts of power, which is roughly enough to power 3500 American homes.
According to Technology Review, Huishan Dairy has created a methane converter that is over 10 times the size of similar such devices. Powered by four of the GE engines pictured above, the converter captures methane from fermenting cow poop and turns it into power. Pop Sci does a good job of summarizing the science behind the converter, which involves processes like hydrodesulfurization and anaerobic digestion, so on and so forth.
But what's really interesting here is that the scale of this converter might be more economically appealing to dairy farms in the US. Currently, methane converter in the US only generates 2 megawatts of power, and are only used by 1% of farms. And considering the plant in China could reduce carbon emssions by over 180,000 tons, I'm sure such a converter would have the full support of green freaks stateside. [Technology Review via PopSci]