Bioenergy and the Dairy Sector

California is the largest dairy state in the United States, providing a large share of the country’s milk and dairy products.  Unfortunately, dairies are also California’s largest source of methane emissions, a climate super pollutant.  Dairy manure can, however, be converted to carbon negative energy, eliminating methane emissions and providing negative carbon emissions instead.   According to the California Air Resources Board, investments in dairy digesters, which convert dairy waste to energy,  are the most effective and the most cost-effective of all of the state’s investments in carbon reductions.

California’s dairy cows produce enough waste to generate 550 megawatts of renewable electricity or more than 100 million gallons per year of carbon negative transportation fuels. Biomethane generated from dairy waste is the lowest carbon fuel of any in existence, more than 500 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline or diesel.  Dairy waste can also be used to generate flexible generation renewable power, which is critical to complement wind and solar power because it’s available 24/7 and can be stored and used as needed.  In addition to cutting methane emissions and producing renewable energy, converting dairy waste to energy reduces air and water pollution from dairies, cuts odors, and can provide revenue and onsite energy supplies to dairy farms.

To learn more, see Bioenergy and Dairies