Manure Happens… Then What Happens Next?

manure happens

To most people, manure is somewhat of a stinky subject, but to me it’s a tantalizing topic! I strongly believe that as we become more and more focused on eliminating waste, soon manure-talk will be just as common as the recap of last night’s ball game.

Farmers have always been the best when it comes to repurposing waste, but now more than ever the way manure is being transformed is nothing short of amazing.  Not to mention, seriously eco-friendly!

Manure is being used for:

  • crop growth
  • gardening
  • carbon source
  • power
  • and of course, water reuse!

You may be wondering how this excessive resource could have so many practical functions…  well let me tell you about a few of the marvelous inventions that support a catch phrase that I am personally very passionate about: “Don’t waste perfectly good waste!”.

It’s no secret that manure is an excellent fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other important micro-nutrients. It adds organic matter to the soil which contributes not only to increased crop yields, but to higher quality food. But what if we could take that fertilizer one step further…cowpots

Introducing CowPots! These are essentially bio pots that are actually composed of cow manure! They are 100% biodegradable, natural, sustainable, and recycled and they completely eliminate the need for plastic. I don’t know about you, but when I think of a garden, I want to smell flowers not manure… and that’s the best part! CowPots have no odor and I guarantee that if I didn’t tell you what they were made of, you’d never even know!

Another awesome innovation that is combating environmental issues is called “Charcrete”, or biochar which is used as a carbon source. Biochar is made from manure and obtained after thermal treatment of the waste through pyrolysis. It can be used as an additive for concrete elements at a ratio of up to 80% and can even be used as a substitute for sand – reducing the weight of a material by a factor of five! By directly using it as a compost supplement, the natural carbon cycle is preserved. The U.S. cement industry accounts for approximately 1.5% of U.S. CO2 emissions, so this technology could make a significant impact on our planet.

biocharr

Now, when we consider the future of our planet, we always talk about our sources of energy and how are we going to sustain power while still being good to the Earth. That’s where methane energy, or biogas (which is a mixture of methane, carbon dioxide, water and hydrogen sulfide) comes in! It’s is made by the anaerobic decomposition of organic matter (manure) and can be compressed or transformed into thermal, electrical and mechanical energy.  So, it’s totally possible to power your vehicle AND provide electricity to your home with “manure-fuel”!  Don’t believe me!? Check this out!

mth

Talk about the future of what’s left behind!

Last, but certainly not least, my personal favorite way to repurpose manure is to turn it into clean drinking water!  And the best part? The LWR System is compatible with every technology I mentioned above so it’s possible to have Cowpots, electricity, and make biochar and fertilizer while also recycling clean water!

If you ask me, manure may very well be the answer to a lot of the world’s crises – especially since it is so versatile across different industries. Who knows what we will come up with next…

Well, I gotta run! All of this manure talk is giving me ideas- off to the Innovation Center!

~Jenkins

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