From poop to power Cornell University turning cow manure into electricity. Two of dairy farming's biggest challenges, keeping cows healthy and happy and dealing with all the manure. Both issues could be solved with a new project, the Sand Manure Separator.

Most dairy farms use wood chips, sawdust or straw for bedding. It's long been held that using sand would be more beneficial, it keeps the cows more comfortable and reduces bacteria growth making it healthier too. But using sand turns the manure handling process into an even bigger challenge, until now.

Using an auger system, the manure and sand would be delivered to the separator where, as the name suggests, it would be separated. A two-step process cleans the sand and returns about 95% of it to be used again for bedding. That alone would be a huge financial benefit for all dairy operations.

At Cornell's Teaching Barn, the captured manure is trucked to the Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility, where it's turned into methane gas. The gas is then used to power turbines generating electricity.

Sounds like a win-win for all of us and the cows. Read more on the story in the Cornell Chronicle, and check out an animated version of how the separator works in the video above.

SOURCE: Cornell Cooperative Extension

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