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Cornell University to use manure to meet campus heating needs


January 13, 2021
By Bree Rody


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Cornell University will develop a system to use manure to meet the campus’s heating demands during the winter. This is part of the university’s ongoing initiative to develop renewable energy sources and services, with an overall goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 100% by 2035.

In the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, researchers and scientists involved with the project detailed how the plan will unfold. The university is currently developing a project to heat the campus through geothermal energy, but in order to make the project more economical, investigators have proposed a system to convert cattle manure from the school’s dairy farms (approximately 600 cows) into energy products.

Because Ithaca has a longer and colder winter than other regions on the U.S., the university has had to explore numerous options to efficiently heat the campus while adhering to its goals to reduce its carbon footprint. The proposed system will not only provide energy for the campus to stay heated but can also be injected into the natural gas grid for New York state.

It will produce an estimated 909 million litres of RNG per year, which can help the institution meet 97% of its peak heating demand needs.