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News >  Idaho

Craig discusses manure-to-electricity plan

Associated Press

TWIN FALLS, Idaho – Idaho U.S. Sen. Larry Craig visited Twin Falls for a town meeting where he discussed using anaerobic digester technology to turn manure into electricity in what he calls a potential “win-win-win” solution to the long-standing problem of dairy waste disposal.

Mountain View Power Inc. prepared a feasibility study that claims anaerobic digestion of cow manure could produce power at two pilot sites in the area, but would cost $7.8 million – or $600 per cow.

The technology offers a reduction of odor, pathogens, greenhouse gases, water usage and pollution, said Fred Kitchener, of McFarland Management LLC, who managed the feasibility study as a subcontractor to Mountain View Power.

Kitchener said the two potential pilot sites were the most cost-effective areas to implement the technology. Each site is flanked by two dairies operated by the same owners, which makes hauling the manure to the digester efficient, he said.

The power plant for each location will cost up to $2.8 million, while the digester facility is estimated at $5 million, bringing the total pilot project cost to about $7.8 million.

Craig said Congress could provide incentives to dairymen who use digester technology to create power.

The idea of anaerobic digester technology is not new to the area.

Idaho Falls-based Intrepid Technology and Resources Inc. finished a prototype anaerobic digester near Rupert where bacteria break down manure, leaving methane that’s used in a natural gas pipeline. The only byproduct is an odorless dirt-like substance that can be used as a mulch.

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