Cow manure from local dairy farms will be run through digesters to generate natural gas that will run through a pipeline to the northwest Iowa town of Sioux Center.

Aaron Maassen owns one of the three dairy farms involved in the project. He says it will not only expand the town’s capacity for natural gas, it will also capture methane emissions from livestock waste. “Capturing value out of it that would have been lost as a greenhouse gas,” Maassen says. “So, it allows us to capture that without changing the value of the resource that we have for our own operation, and add value to just our local community.”

Maassen says the greenhouse gas emissions eliminated will be equivalent to around 8,800 cars. Sioux Center utilities assistant manager Adam Fedders says the community needs more natural gas capacity. “For a growing community, like Sioux Center, taking advantage of opportunities to receive additional capacity and other locations is something that’s advantageous,” Fedders says, “and then to find an opportunity right in your backyard is even greater.”

The farm digesters are expected to bring in around 350 MMBTUs a day, or around a third of the natural gas typically used in Sioux Center on a summer day. Construction on the pipeline is expected to begin as early as April.

(By Kendall Crawford, Iowa Public Radio)

Radio Iowa