US farmers’ bank on manure fueled trucks

Global Business


Trucks and cows may seem like an unlikely match. But some farmers in the United States are putting the two together and seeing green? And as a way to power their operations.

CCTV America’s Roza Kazan reports.Follow Roza Kazan on Twitter @rozakazancctv

To many farmers around the world, disposing of animal waste is part of the cost of doing business. But at Fair Oaks Farms, a U.S. dairy in the state of Indiana, cow manure is a source of energy.

“How do we monetize manure to create an opportunity with that product instead of it simply being a liability,” Fair Oaks Farms Digester Operations Manager Carl Ramsey said.

The farm uses a procedure called anaerobic digestion in which microorganisms break down manure, a biodegradable material, and then process it to produce electricity and natural gas.

A Chicago firm, ampCNG, called itself an alternative fuel company. It makes compressed natural gas, or CNG, and operates 19 fueling stations across the country.

CNG, the CEO said, is cleaner than diesel, the traditional fuel for heavy-duty trucks.

Fair Oaks Farms’ entire fleet of milk trucks now run on compressed natural gas.

The cows on this farm alone produce enough manure in one day to power a truck to drive for 30,000 miles. That’s more than 10 times across the country using clean and affordable fuel.

But the trucks that use CNG cost $30,000 to $50,000 more. Critics have said that may deter some customers, especially in the era of cheap fossil fuel, but Grant Zimmerman at ampCNG disagrees.

The farm said the cost of renewable CNG is more predictable than oil prices affected by world events.