California dairy running trucks on biomethane
In early February at the World Agricultural Fair, representatives of Hilarides Dairy announced the company is converting cow waste to fuel trucks and generators while minimizing pollution and diversifying energy sources.
Rob Hilarides, the dairy owner, earned a $600,000 grant from the California Air Resources Board’s Alternative Fuel Incentive Program which subsidizes projects facilitating greater use of non-petroleum fuels.
“It’s energy projects like this that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and get us off our dependency of foreign oil,” said Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols. “It also addresses sources of long- term air and water pollution problems.”
Dairy farm owner Rob Hilarides converted two heavy-duty diesel trucks to run on clean-burning biomethane produced from his cows’ manure. Using an anaerobic-lagoon digester that processes the run-off of nearly 10,000 cows, the project generates 226,000 cubic feet of bio-gas per day and enough fuel to run two heavy-duty trucks that make daily runs. This has reduced the dairy’s diesel consumption by 650 gallons a day. Rob intends to convert five pickup trucks to use the same fuel. The project is the result of a public-private partnership aimed at encouraging the use of renewable biomethane produced from the waste of food processing and dairies. In June 2006, California’s legislature allotted $25 million dollars in grants to encourage the integration of alternative fuels into California’s market. Projects from the grants are now coming online and examples can be seen throughout the state.
The Hilarides project was supported by state officials because the process reduces volatile organic compounds and greenhouse gasses, generates compressed natural gas, an alternative to diesel, and minimizes two sources of the valley’s air pollution problem. Redirecting the cow waste to produce natural gas and rededicating diesel engines to run on the alternative fuel is a replicable process and it is hoped that many farms throughout the state will embrace the option. — WLJ