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Biorefinery Helps Alberta Farmer Diversify His Operation

By producing ethanol, heat, power, and fertilizer from cow dung, an Alberta biorefinery is showing how farm producers can diversify their operations and add value to their products.

Alberta originally entered beef production as a measure of protection from notoriously volatile grain prices, Green Energy Futures reports. For farmer Bern Kotelko, capturing 500 tonnes per day of cow poop is the next logical step.

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“Some people call it waste, but we’ve gotten past that where we don’t have to use the ‘W’ word here,” he told Green Energy Futures. “It all has value. It just needs to be utilized in a different form.”

Kotelko’s farm near Vegreville accepts an additional 200 tonnes of organic waste from nearby municipalities, and receives a tipping fee in exchange. Overall, the methane it burns in a 2.5-MW generator produces enough electricity to power 2,500 homes.