How to Produce Electricity from Cow Dung

Four Methods:Burning the dungBurning gasified dungReacting gasified dungUsing fertilizer

Cow dung is a plentiful, potentially valuable organic agricultural by-product that you can often get for free or even have someone pay you to "take off their hands" (eww). Ruminants and their bacteria are very efficient, but there's still energy left to extract--one way to use it is to make electricity.

Method 1
Burning the dung

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    Toss the cow chips in a fire. Or, dry, powder or pellet them for automatic firing.
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    Make electricity from the heat. The fire can heat a boiler for a steam turbine, a gas cylinder for a Stirling engine, or even a thermocouple for simple, low capacity use.

Method 2
Burning gasified dung

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    Anaerobically ferment the dung. Build a digester to ferment the dung biologically over time and collect the gas to burn it to generate power with a boiler, steam, or internal combustion engine. You may want to clean damaging gases from it first.
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    Distill producer gas from the dung. Make a gasifier as for a wood-gas automobile and burn the dung under insufficient air in it to generate gas to burn.
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    Generate water gas from the dung. Burn the gas in a furnace under insufficient air and admit a water spray to the hot mass in cycles to generate "water gas" (which contains toxic fumes) to burn.
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    Convert the gas to a liquid fuel for convenient storage if you like.

Method 3
Reacting gasified dung

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    Generate gas as if to burn directly.
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    React the gas in a suitable fuel cell. This will make electricity without flame, and very efficiently.

Method 4
Using fertilizer

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    Put the dung or leftovers on a field.
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    Grow something else suitable for fuel. Including grass, which makes cow dung!

Warnings

  • Check environmental regulations before operating at scale.
  • Beware of poisonous or suffocating gases from fermentation or fire.


Article Info

Categories: Electrical Circuits and Devices