Auto Fuel From Cow Manure (Sep, 1949)

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Auto Fuel From Cow Manure

Germans are being forced to search everywhere for new sources of power—even in their own pastures.

By Heinrich Hauser

THERE’S an old European proverb which says you can measure the extent of a farmer’s prosperity by the height of his manure pile. That saying is closer to the truth today in Germany than it has ever been before.

A German inventor named Harnisch has developed a simple device which converts manure into fuel. And this fuel is used to drive autos and tractors as well as provide household power.

The idea of using manure as fuel is not a new one. Cow manure has been used for this purpose for thousands of years in India and “Africa. As recently as 1912, many cities were operating gas lanterns on sewage gas.

This new Bio-Gas Generator is essentially a septic tank but with two additions.

One is a manure shredder through which the crude manure passes. The second is a heater which accelerates the fermentation of the manure. The heater is powered by the gas but uses only about one per cent of it.

The gas generated from the manure contains from 60 to 80 per cent methane, a fuel of higher caloric value than gasoline. The remainder is carbon dioxide which is filtered out in the processing. The methane is piped directly into appliances like stoves. Or, when used for tractors or autos, it is compressed into steel flasks.

The generator delivers ready-to-use methane within 12 hours after its charge. Manure of one cow provides enough methane for average cooking needs—two to three cubic yards.

Methane from two cows is enough to heat the average farm house. With 20 head of cattle the farmer can operate a tractor for 120 days!

The present German shortage of steel flasks has led to the use of rubberized canvas bags. So, it’s not a strange sight to see buses trailing huge gas bags behind them and cars which appear to be suspended from blimps.

Cow-power research is still going on and gradually the Germans are discovering that there’s really much more to cow manure than meets the eye—or the nose!

9 comments
  1. mubvumbi says: November 28, 20079:51 am

    Interested in more information on biogas powered engines in particular tractors

  2. LesAnn says: May 21, 20088:19 am

    would like to know more about this. it ‘s very intresting to me.

  3. Leo Gomez says: December 5, 20089:46 pm

    I AM LOOKING IN GET AN SMALL APPLICATION TO CONVERT Cow Manure INTO GAS TO UTILIZE IN MY HOUSE IN THE COUNTRY AND HOW MUCH THE INVESTMENT AND MAINTENANCE WILL COST ME ANNUALLY

  4. Chris says: March 23, 20099:09 pm

    I am interested in a project to produce clean gas from cows`manure for cooking.
    Please send me some imformation. I need to know how to seperate the carbon dioxide from methane.

  5. Toronto says: March 23, 200910:39 pm

    Here’s a good way to find info about manure gasifiers (via Mother Earth News.)

    http://tinyurl.com/c6f8…

    I’ve seen working chicken-power systems, but never cow-power. It’s mainly a matter of scale and by-products/bulk.

  6. Alan Brown says: April 21, 20099:10 pm

    Very interesting! I am interested in a project to produce clean gas from cows`manure for cooking.
    Please send me some imformation about it. How much will it cost? how about if I buy a dozen?

  7. Charlie says: April 22, 20099:20 am

    There is something disturbing about the idea of using a cow’s own waste to power the BBQ you cook it on.

  8. UDAY MALODE says: July 3, 20092:18 pm

    Dear Sir
    We have 26 cows for milking on farm house.We wish to produce autofuel from manure.
    Kindly forward process details with flow digram and complete plant setup.
    Emai is: uday_malode@rediffmail….

    Regards
    Uday Malode
    00919767726318
    India

  9. ATAKELT-DAGNEW says: August 19, 20095:01 am

    DEAR SIR.MADDAM
    AS PER POSTED ON YOUR WEB SITE WE ARE REALLY IMÅPRESSED ON WHAT YOU ARE DOING FOR THE POWER OBTAINED FROM COWS MANUER, FOR THAT MATTER I AM REALLY INTERSETED TO KNOW WHOW THIS IS PROCESSED AND DONE AS POWER TO TRANSFER KNOW WHOW FOR OUR VERY POOR FARMERS AS SMALL SCALE PROJECT, SO PLEASE IAM LOOKING FOR YOU SUGGESTION TO SHARE THE EXPERIENCES, HELPING POOR COUNTRIES IS NOT ONLY DONATING MONEY BUT ALSO SHARING EXPERIENCES AND TRANSFER KNOW WHOW IS MORE THAN EVERY THING FOR SUSTAINABLE GROWTH OF THE WHOLW PALNET IN THE CORNER OF POLLUTION AND CLIMATE CHANGE
    THANKS
    ATAKELI DAGNEW
    MOB+251911407029
    ADDISS ABEBA
    ETHIOPIA

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