The 2017 digital edition has arrived! Read it at issuu.com.
Illustration of Cow inside a lightbulb.

Waste Not, Want Not

A British Columbia business has found a new way to create renewable energy, and it comes from an unlikely source: cow manure.

Cowpower is an opportunity for British Columbia residents to have a positive impact on the environment by purchasing renewable energy.

Cowpower BC is a non-profit organization with a focus on sustainable energy and local agriculture. Based out of Abbotsford, British Columbia, the Cowpower dairy farm produces sustainable energy from cow manure and uses it to power homes, businesses, and events. Cow manure and food waste are put into an anaerobic digester, a manure-to-electricity system that heats up the waste and captures the methane that is produced during the process. This methane, also known as biogas, is then converted to renewable electricity that is placed onto the regular power grid.

China, Germany, and numerous developing countries already use biogas as a renewable resource to heat homes, supply businesses with power, and create a better living environment. Germany uses biogas for heat, power, and fuel, and their use of this renewable resource continues to grow. People in poverty-stricken areas of China and other developing countries also use power from anaerobic digesters to cook daily meals and heat their homes.

An environmental geography graduate and a local supporter of Cowpower, Lindsey Howat, believes that “as awareness increases and they get more supporters, [Cowpower] is definitely a viable option because we do have a lot of agricultural farms in the Lower Mainland.” For a final presentation on sustainable community development, Howat purchased Cowpower energy through the Cowpower BC website to show her support and demonstrate Cowpower’s easy accessibility. “Anyone can choose to use Cowpower. A business, residence, [or] community event can sign up as a way to reduce their environmental impact,” says Howat. Many major local institutions and businesses are already supporters of Cowpower BC, including the Fair at the PNE Vancouver, Recycling Alternative, Simon Fraser University, Telus World of Science, and Vancity. The more people who choose to use this new source of sustainable energy, the more positive its impact will be.

By becoming a supporter and buying Cowpower energy, you’ll minimize pollutants in the water system, reduce your environmental impact, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Cowpower doesn’t just benefit you and the environment, but your community as well: it provides local jobs and carbon-neutral energy, and supports sustainable farming in the Lower Mainland. With the threat of decreasing fossil fuels, Cowpower is a clean and renewable energy source that can help contribute to a more sustainable future.

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