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Dung or manure refers to the undigested faecal matter that has passed through an animal's gut, usually of the bovine animal species (cattle/cows, yak, water buffalo, bison). Gas from cow dung is considered the most important form of bioenergy in rural Indian villages (where it is known as gobar gas) and many other parts of the developing world. Cow dung is used as a fertilizer and fuel for cooking and as a biogas (rich in methane) to produce electricity and heat.
- 18-20 October 2010, Des Moines, Iowa, USA: 10th Annual BioCycle Renewable Energy from Organics Recycling. (Themes: biogas, crop residue, manure, waste)
- Burning issues: tackling indoor air pollution, 7 May 2011 by The Lancet: "According to WHO, 2 million people die as a result of the smoke generated by open fires or crude stoves within their homes every year. Indoor air pollution has been definitively linked to lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pneumonia, the risk of which is doubled by exposure to indoor smoke. More than 900 000 people die from pneumonia caused by indoor air pollution every year. 500 million households worldwide—roughly 3 billion people—rely on solid fuels, such as wood, animal dung, or coal, for cooking and heating. These fuels are usually burned in a rudimentary stove, or in a traditional open fire. It need not be a problem, at least in terms of health. But only assuming the fuel is completely combusted—wood must be dry, and the stove must work efficiently—and there is plenty of ventilation, a spacious chimney, or a sizeable window. In those places where the use of solid fuels prevails, however, these conditions rarely apply, and the consequences can be severe."
- "Yet, 'despite the magnitude of this growing problem' notes WHO 'the health impacts of exposure to indoor air pollution have yet to become a central focus of research, development aid, and policy making'....But the past year has had some encouraging advances."
- "In September, 2010, the UN Foundation launched the Global Alliance for Clean Cook Stoves....The Alliance—a public-private initiative—brings together partners from the range of specialties across which the issue of indoor air pollution sprawls. There is public health, of course, but also energy, international development, female empowerment, climate change, technology, and business."
- "The real benefits will be seen by switching to cleaner fuels and cleaner stoves. Improved stoves—those fitted with fans, for example—combust fuel more efficiently, have lower emissions, and require shorter cooking times."
- NRDC Assesses Biochar - Says High Hopes For Carbon Storage Premature , 29 November 2010 by Treehugger: "There's been lots of back and forth in the past year on biochar, ranging from research showing it has huge potential for absorbing carbon emissions on one side, to uncertainty about its potential, to outright hostility towards the enthusiasm shown towards it--and all from people with good environmental credentials. A new report from NRDC tries to sort it all out, and comes down somewhere in the middle."
- "Biochar: Assessing the Promise and Risks To Guide U.S. Policy (PDF file) arrives at the overall conclusion that there is great technical potential for biochar on a global scale....It's just premature to claim with certainty what the impact of widespread biochar production and application will be..."
- "The main point made about developing biochar systems with the best environmental performance is using the right feedstock." The report claims that already existing 'concentrated sources of waste biomass, such as animal manures, organic municipal solid waste, and urban wood residues', as opposed to plants grown explicitly for use as biochar feedstocks, would be the best material for biochar production, as such existing feedstocks are not linked to land-use changes.
- "As for the optimum method of producing the biochar itself, the report says slow pyrolysis is best for maximizing output and creating the best, most uniform product."
- Download the report: Biochar: Assessing the Promise and Risks To Guide U.S. Policy (PDF file)
- US $50 Million Pledge For Cleaner Cookstoves is Big Win For Women, Forests & Climate, 21 September 2010 by TreeHugger: "Today Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to announce a $50 million pledge of seed money, distributed over five years, to help the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves provide 100 million clean-burning biomass cookstoves by 2020 to people in Africa, Asia and South America."
- "[T]he UN says every year 1.9 million people, mostly women and children, die from ailments caused by exposure to smoke from inefficient biomass cooking stoves."
- "What fuels these cookstoves? In some places it's dried animal dung--eminently renewable and frankly a good use of natural resources, but still a health hazard indoors--but it's also wood. Gathered and cut from forests, often carried long distances, again most often by women, this contributes to rampant deforestation in some places and is a burden that can be lessened by stoves which use fuel more efficiently."
- "Beyond the effect of cookstove smoke on people in the immediate vicinity, the black carbon soot has a climate impact as well."
- Scientists Question EPA's Greenhouse Gas Emission Estimates, 28 June 2010 by azocleantech.com: "The approach the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses to estimate greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural anaerobic lagoons that treat manure contains errors and may underestimate methane emissions by up to 65%, according to scientists".
- "An interdisciplinary team of scientists from the University of Missouri evaluated the EPA and IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] approach to estimate greenhouse emissions from anaerobic lagoons." They "documented errors in the approach, which the EPA and IPCC adapted from a method used to estimate methane production from anaerobic digesters." Additionally, the team "found that uncovered anaerobic lagoons were more efficient at converting waste to methane than predicted using literature based on digesters."
- See the paper, An Evaluation of the USEPA Calculations of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Anaerobic Lagoons.
- China Farm Gets Shocking Amount of Power From Cow Poop, 6 May 2010 by The New York Times: "A 250,000-head dairy operation in northeast China plans to open the world's largest cow manure-fed power project in September, according to General Electric Co., the company supplying four biogas turbines to the Liaoning Huishan Cow Farm in Shenyang. For comparison, the largest U.S. dairy farms have 15,000 cattle."
- "China's newest livestock digester will reduce piles of dung, yield fertilizer and heat, and will supply 38,000 megawatt-hours of power annually to the state's power grid, enough to meet the average demand of some 15,000 Chinese residents. It produces biogas, a methane and carbon dioxide mix emanating from manure, grease, sewage or other organic materials allowed to stew in an oxygen-free chamber."
- "The barriers to the expansion of biogas are about economics, not technology, and how long it takes for biogas projects to pay off varies country by country."
- "The biogas field could be one more example of the ways the United States is falling behind China. Yesterday, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that the United States is lagging behind China, which provides strong tax incentives for a host of renewable energy technologies."
- EPA Administrator and Agriculture Secretary Team Up to Promote Farm Energy Generation, 3 May 2010 press release by USDA: "U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson today announced a new interagency agreement promoting renewable energy generation and slashing greenhouse gas emissions from livestock operations. The agreement expands the work of the AgSTAR program, a joint EPA-USDA effort that helps livestock producers reduce methane emissions from their operations."
- "The collaboration will expand technical assistance efforts, improve technical standards and guidance for the construction and evaluation of biogas recovery systems, and expand outreach to livestock producers and assist them with pre-feasibility studies."
- "Biogas is composed primarily of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Biogas emitted from manure management systems called digesters can be collected and used to produce electricity, heat or hot water."
- Haiti's Rebuild May Be Biochar's Big Breakthough, 4 March 2010 by TreeHugger: "Biochar, the 'co product' of burning wood or agricultural waste in a pyrolitic (oxygen free) environment, has garnered both praise and criticism for its possibilities as a CO2 sequestration tool."
- "WorldStoves, a company that makes a number of pyrolitic stoves, has partnered with the NGO International Lifeline Fund and a private Haitian company to bring its 'Lucia' stove designs to Haiti. In Haiti, the use of wood for charcoal for home cooking needs is widespread, which has led to a continuing cycle of deforestation and soil degradation."
- "What makes the Lucia stove so magic is that a Haitian woman or man could cook for a five-person family using just about 300 grams of twigs, groundnut shells, rice husk or dung."
- "[If] biochar is included in the UN's Certified Emission Reductions (CER) and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) schemes, creating it in cookstoves and sequestering it in soil could help Haiti economically as well."
- USDA Makes a Move on Methane, 12 December 2009 by CQ Politics: "Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a conference call from Copenhagen that his department and the dairy industry have reached an agreement to accelerate efforts to reduce the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020. The announcement is part of the Obama administration’s continuing campaign to convince farmers they can benefit from an international agreement on climate change."
- Deadly ‘brown cloud’ over South Asia caused by wood and dung burning, 23 January 2009 by Mongabay.com: "Long a subject of debate, the cause of the infamous brown cloud that hovers over the Indian Ocean and South Asia every winter has finally been discovered. Researchers led by Dr Orjan Gustafsson from the University of Stockholm in Sweden announced in Science that 70 percent of the cloud is made up of soot from the burning of biomasses, largely wood and animal dung used for cooking."
- "Researchers hope the discovery of the cloud’s source will push policy makers to rapidly aid the region’s poor in switching to cleaner methods of cooking, such as solar."
- "As well as being linked to global warming, the brown cloud is believed to lengthen droughts, exacerbate monsoons, and further melt the Himalayan glaciers, which currently provide fresh water to billions of people. Already, over three hundred thousand people die in Asia due to illnesses linked to brown cloud pollutants annually."
|Household energy use: Biomass (Dung, Wood)|
|Energy concepts: Net energy | Renewable energy|
Energy units of measure | Energy content
Bioenergy | Household energy use (Dung/Manure)
What is bioenergy? | Benefits/Risks | Who is doing what?