Coming to a Resort Near You: Manure-Powered Ski Lifts
October 26, 2012
We’ve seen many new uses for biogas in recent years, but the number of innovative ways to utilize this renewable fuel continues to grow! This coming winter, Killington Resort has developed a new way to power skiers and snowboarders to the top of the mountain: cow manure. In a partnership with Green Mountain Power, Killington becomes the first ski resort in Vermont to use manure power, via the “Cow Power” program. Killington’s release explains the process:
“Farms collect cow manure throughout the day, mixing it with wash water from the milking equipment which is then pumped into an anaerobic digester. The slurry flows through a digester for about three weeks at 100 degrees Fahrenheit allowing bacteria to convert the manure into biogas, about 60 percent methane gas and 40 percent carbon dioxide. The biogas is then delivered to a modified natural gas engine, which drives an electric generator to create electricity.”
The 13 Vermont farms participating in this innovative program are home to nearly 10,000 dairy cows that produce 300,000 gallons of manure per day. Not only is Killington supporting renewable energy but local Vermont dairy farms will also reap the benefits. Participating farmers get to enjoy a new income stream, while water quality improves and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.
It gets better. Killington isn’t planning to stop with their gondola. Reports say they plan to incorporate the Cow Power program to light up their soon-to-be-built Killington Peak Lodge. We can’t wait for ski season!