Since methane gas has 20 times the potential than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, we must capture this gas instead of releasing it into the atmosphere. One way this is being done today is by dairy farms trapping methane from cow manure and producing electricity.
Let me give a basic explanation of how they collect methane gas from cow manure. They collect and move the manure to a large lagoon. Most of the methanogenic bacteria are present in the manure. However, they can add more of these bacteria to speed up the anaerobic digestion of this organic waste. For the anaerobic process to occur, they must cover the lagoon with a nonporous cover. This biological process occurs in what is referred to as a methane digester. This captured methane gas is purified and is equivalent to natural gas which can be used to fire up electrical generators and produce all the electricity needed for the dairy farm. Any excess electricity is sold to the local power company.
In the thriller novel, Green Power, this is exactly what the protagonist does. However, when an epidemic breaks out pointing to the methane digesters as the cause, the safety of this alternate source of energy is questioned.
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