Cow Power: Feasibility of Fuel Cells for Energy Conversion on the Dairy Farm

Program or topic

Cow Power: Feasibility of Fuel Cells for Energy Conversion on the Dairy Farm

Department(s) or unit(s)

Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering

Contact information

Norman Scott
Professor, Biological and Environmental Engineering

Program goals

To study the potential for biogas energy conversion on dairy farms using fuel cell technology.

Brief Description

Cow Power addresses issues of sustainability by aiding in the development and implementation of agriculture-based fuel sources, while reducing the demand for petroleum-based fuels. The focus is geared toward understanding the feasibility of fuel cells in this environment in terms of technology, economics, and policy. We are assessing the technical feasibility of fuel cell technology for energy conversion of biogas to electricity and thermal energy (heating and cooling), and looking at the potential for fuel cell technology to work across a range of dairy farms from small (100) to large (5000 cows or more).

Since returning to the faculty in 1998, principal investigator Norm Scott has focused his research on sustainable development. This research is dedicated to the development of sustainable communities with emphasis on biologically derived fuels, renewable energy, recycling, managed ecosystems and industrial ecology. The concept of sustainable development is a driving force in creating a “vision” for change to integrate renewable energy and entrepreneurial enterprises to provide opportunities for agro-eco-industrial development of sustainable communities around the world and to develop eco-cities which can change dramatically the way we live in the future and potentially create carbon neutrality.

For more information


Key publications:

  • Scott, N. R., et. al. 1997. Agricultural and biological systems. In Engineering Response to Global Climate Change: Planning a Research and Development Agenda, edited by Robert G. Watts. Lewis Publishers, 339-74
  • Ma, J., N.R. Scott, S.D. DeGloria and A.J. Lembo. 2005. Siting analysis of farm-based centralized anaerobic digester systems for distributed generation using GIS. Biomass and Bioenergy. Volume 28, Issue 6, June, Pages 591-600.
  • Scott, N. R. 2008. Nanobiotechnology, Renewable Energy, Sustainability, and the Future. Resources. Volume 15, No. 7. Pages 17-20
  • Ma, J and N. R. Scott. 2009. Utilizing Organic Wastes as Renewable Energy Resources submitted to Biomas and bioenergy

Category: Agriculture/Farming, Bio-energy/-fuel/-gas, Dairy and other livestock, Energy

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