Microgy's Huckabay Ridge facility--under construction at a major composting
center near Stephenville, Texas, at a cost of up to $11.5 million--will house
eight 916,000-gallon digesters, which together are capable of processing the manure of 10,000 cows.
The plant will start shipping natural gas (methane) to a customer in the third
quarter and, when fully operational, will churn out an estimated 1 billion
cubic feet of biogas a year for $4.6 million in revenue.
"Initially it might get a chuckle, but this is real," said Kam Tejwani, CEO of
Environmental Power. "We can make money without all of the subsidies and
credits you see with other alternative energy projects."
Filling up with biogas
Thermophilic and mesophilic digesters produce biogas, which is made of
two-thirds methane (natural gas) and one-third carbon dioxide. Biogas can be
used on the farm to run equipment that ordinarily consumes propane or can power
an electricity generator. It can also be shipped through commercial gas
pipelines, but that would require an additional expense because the carbon
dioxide would need to be burned off first.
Burning manure for fuel has been a part of human society since the days of
stone knives and bear skins. But today, rising prices for oil and