Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

How 1,000 Pounds of Butter Can Power a Home for 3 Days

Photo by Flickr user Robert S. Donovan(Creative Commons)

Believe it Or Not: Butter Can Be Used to Power a Home

Don’t tell Paula Deen, but butter can be used for something other than making fried butter balls. Turns out that in addition to making everything taste better (yes, even bacon), butter can also make energy.

And not just any butter, but a large sculpture of it “showing a boy lead­ing his prize-winning calf through a county fair,” according to our sister site StateImpact Pennsylvania. The sculpture is an annual tradition at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, and this year a farmer is taking the butter, converting it to methane, and running his home and farm off of the energy for three days.

StateImpact Pennsylvania has the fatty details:

“Turns out, but­ter becomes gas through the work of a methane digester. Glenn Cauff­man, the man­ager of Penn State University’s Farm Oper­a­tions, said the but­ter will be dumped into a big heated tank where microor­gan­isms will feast on it. “Those microor­gan­isms can break those fat mol­e­cules apart into the less com­plex mol­e­cules,” he explained. “Then fur­ther take that to pro­duce a gas called methane, which burns read­ily in an engine, and can be con­verted into…electricity.””

So go quickly grab a piece Texas Toast (and a Lipitor), and then sit down to read all about the buttery wonder over at StateImpact Pennsylvania.


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StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
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