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Vt. scienctists test a new wave of cow power - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. scienctists test a new wave of cow power

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CHARLOTTE, Vt. -

Vermont scientists believe they may have the next wave of cow power. That is taking byproducts of manure and turning them into fuel. 

If GSR Solutions' product grows, Vermont could lead the country toward a new fuel source, all while cutting down on pollution spilling into lakes. 

Nordic Farm in Charlotte is participating in Anju Dahiya's pilot program. Dahiya's company aims to change the way farmers uses their digesters.

There's detailed science behind a simple process: Nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen are taken from manure. That liquid product is then fed to a special type of algae. From that algae comes biofuel, a potential replacement for diesel. 

"It is taking this notion of community digesters and making significant improvements so that we can really kick the butt out of phosphorus in terms of runoff," said Green Mountain Power CEO Mary Powell. 

The improvements create biofuel that becomes jet fuels, heating oil or an alternative to traditional diesel. Plus the leftover manure lacks the germs and phosphorous that destroys water quality. 

"The best way to capture the excess nutrients that are created on farms is to never let them get beyond the boundaries of the farmstead," said Clark Hinsdale, Nordic Farms owner.

Hinsdale owns 300 cows. Dahiya says a 300-cow farm could make 20,000-30,000 gallons of fuel per year with GSR's new technology that takes the byproduct of a digester and makes more, cleaner fuel.

But farmers can't buy the tech just yet. More development is needed before the process can go from lab to farm.

"It's not going to be only the manure waste, but the food waste as well in the digester system," said Dahiya.

The goal is to turn thousands of pounds of poop into thousands of gallons of algae power.

Dahiya is currently seeking more federal and private funding to expand the program. Currently the fuel costs over $20 per gallon scientists believe once the project is scaled up the price will come down.

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