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originally posted by: ketsuko
The nation's leading agricultural state is now regulating cow farts targeting methane.
...California may think it's a good idea to kill of their dairy industry
How the methane digester works Twice a day, the barns are flushed clean with recycled water, including water that has been recycled from the creamery. Manure from the barn is also scraped by tractor into a holding pond. From there, it goes through a separator, which separates solids from liquids. The solids are composted and the liquids are piped into a second pond that is covered with an enormous tarp. Under the tarp, the liquid manure is transformed by bacteria, through the process of anaerobic digestion. The result of this sustainable practice is renewable energy in the form of methane gas, carbon dioxide and a small amount of hydrogen sulfite.
The tarp that covers the pond captures the gas. It is then pumped to a combustion engine where it fuels a generator and creates electricity. The heat created in the process is used to heat water for the dairy. This 180-degree Fahrenheit water is used to clean barns.
[T]wo dairy digester projects under control of the American Biogas Energy Co., which is part of CalBio, are moving forward and have recently received grant funding: Lakeview Farms Dairy, Bakersfield and West Star North Dairies, Buttonwillow. Lakeview Farms Dairy received $4 million to install and demonstrate a covered lagoon digester that converts dairy manure into biogas to generate renewable electricity and to prepare a 1-MW generator platform capable of being expanded by using biogas from neighboring dairies. This would be the state’s first genuine dairy cluster, what many believe is a long time coming. Another project in that cluster is Carlos Echeverria & Sons as well as CalBio’s existing 2 -W Old River project. “What’s unique and important about Lakeview is that we’re planning to build a 1-MW dairy digester, but the platform for that will be designed to add a second or third MW from neighboring dairies if and when we build dairy digesters in those,” Black says. “We’re trying to develop economies of scale both in capital expenses and in ongoing operations and management expenses. We’re delighted to have the large Old River project up and running, and to have received funding for two new projects in this cluster.”
Regulations in California are tougher than in other states because of its unique issues: nonattainment zones from dense human populations and associated vehicle and power plant emissions along the coastal regions, juxtaposed with nonattainment zones from multiple sources, including the dense dairy population in the Central Valley.
Cattle and other farm animals are major sources of methane, a greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide as a heat-trapping gas. Methane is released when they belch, pass gas and make manure.
California gas leak was the worst man-made greenhouse-gas disaster in U.S. history, study says
The Aliso Canyon leak, which was halted only a week ago, illustrates how a single incident can sabotage efforts to reduce emissions of the gases blamed for climate change, the study said. California officials have called for dramatic reductions in carbon pollution for the state’s 39 million people, and offered tax rebates for consumers who buy electric vehicles. Yet the analysis shows that the methane flow from one damaged wellhead more than doubled the amount of methane pollution emitted by all sources across the entire Los Angeles basin.
A California company that operated a natural gas storage system that leaked last year, spewing thousands of tons of methane and other chemicals into the air and forcing the evacuation of more than 8,300 households, reached a $4 million settlement with state prosecutors, officials announced on Tuesday.
However, PG&E and environmental groups agree that California no longer needs the electricity from Diablo Canyon, given increased energy efficiency in the state and the growing availability and affordability of solar and wind power and other renewable energy.
PG&E President Geisha Williams has said the utility could pivot to wind, solar, biomass, geothermal or hydropower to replace the energy Diablo Canyon currently provides — about 9 percent of the state’s power.
Under the new agreement, PG&E pledges to use renewable energy to produce 55 percent of its electricity by 2031, the utility said.
$4 mill? Thats it? No charges? No jail time?
While it took engineers nearly four months to contain the leak, most agree that the crisis could have been averted easily, were it not for California’s outmoded regulatory approach to underground natural gas storage. Adding insult to injury, eleven months prior to the Aliso Canyon leak, the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) seems to have come to the same conclusion. In a report directed to the California Public Utilities Commission in November 2014, SoCalGas acknowledges the dozens of maintenance concerns[vi] in its aging gas storage systems,[vii] ultimately conceding that “without a new inspection plan, SoCalGas . . . could experience major failures and service interruptions from potential hazards that currently remain undetected.”[viii] Yet, despite the precarious state of its storage facilities, at the time it released its report, SoCalGas was in compliance with all California state regulations concerning underground natural gas storage.[ix] That an up-to-code facility could bear responsibility for a methane leak of unprecedented proportions suggests existing regulations warrant review.
The utility is on notice that it could face a more serious criminal penalty in the future if the same unlawful conduct occurs, according to the District Attorney’s Office, which said the settlement will not interfere with pending civil actions filed by Porter Ranch residents against the company.