Thandeka Mabuza’s small-scale dairy farm, on the banks of the Olifants River, gives off hardly any of the earthy smell you might expect from a thriving dairy operation.
But the lack of manure odour is hardly the only benefit from the farm’s pioneering biogas dairy. By using vats to digest cow dung and then harvesting and burning the methane, Mabuza now produces electricity for her house and barns.
“This project is a triple win situation,” said the former agricultural extension officer with the South African department of agriculture and land affairs. “I can confirm that through turning manure into energy, I have reduced my electricity bill by a quarter. And I am preventing deforestation by reducing destructive harvesting of fuel wood,” a major source of power for many small farming operations.
The 12-hectare farm in South Africa’s Limpopo province, about 150 kilometres (94 miles) northeast of Pretoria, has a 16 dairy cows, whose manure is fed into three anaerobic digesters. The resulting gas is then burned to produce electricity, Mabuza said.
Read more (Reuters AlertNet)