In a bid to improve energy efficiency and draw power from non-fossil fuel resources, Vermont's celebrated ski area, Killington, has teamed up with the state's Green Mountain Energy company to develop an electricity generator that runs on cow manure.
According to the Associated Press, electricity is created by feeding the animal waste into an anaerobic feeder device, which contains methane-producing bacteria that consumes the manure. Before this stage, the manure is treated with wash water in order to stimulate bacterial growth. After a period of three weeks, a biogas that is approximately 60 percent methane is removed from the container and used to power the generator.
"We're always looking at ways to be environmentally efficient and we're always looking forward to ways to help farmers," Sarah Thorson, a spokeswoman for the ski resort, told Reuters in a statement.
The electricity will be used to operate the K-1 Express Gondola to the top of the resort. Reuters also reported that 13 farms will be participating in the initiative, with nearly 300,000 kilowatt hours expected to be produced from nearly 10,000 cows. Roughly 300,000 gallons of manure are utilized by the device every day, so cattle farmers in Vermont are sure to see plenty of their waste taken care of.
These efforts highlight the ways that recreation areas are helping to cover costs by turning to renewable energy resources. One can only assume that other ski areas in the region will look to Killington's success as a starting point for further reductions in utility expenses. Check back with Life Is Green for more updates on the ways that everyday businesses are utilizing clean power to succeed and grow.