In a ridiculous publicity stunt that shows the lighter side of cow power, northern California utility PG&E and BioEnergy Solutions said today they will power a children’s train ride with renewable biogas, courtesy of California dairy cows, at the California State Fair this weekend in Sacramento. The ride, dubbed the “Barnyard Animal Train,” will run on biogas produced from the anaerobic digestion of cow manure. Fun for the whole, and Holstein, family.
Biogas can actually deliver some serious power. According to a recent study, cow power could potentially provide enough energy to power a full 3 percent of our national grid. PG&E Vice President of Gas Transmission and Distribution Robert Howard certainly showed enthusiasm in the company release: “We’re proud to partner with these innovative dairy farmers and demonstrate the potential for the state’s agriculture and power sectors to work together to meet California’s climate goals,”
This smelly publicity stunt is part of PG&E’s partnership with BioEnergy Solutions. Earlier this year, the two opened up a cow-powered gas pipeline that will pump out some 3 billion cubic feet of biogas a year. The project has the blessing of the California Public Utilities Commission and is expected to meet the electricity needs of some 50,000 PG&E residential customers. PG&E also has a contract for another 3 billion cubic of biogas from Microgy, which the utility tells us will be delivered later this year.
In the meantime, we’re waiting to hear about the “Bovine Biogas Bumper Cars,” “Flatulent Ferris Wheel” and “Cow Pie Log Flume.” We may be disappointed. But if any E2T readers are heading to the fair, please send in pictures of the “Barnyard Animal Train.”