UW–Madison researchers transform cow manure solids into medium chain fatty acids

January 3, 2022 |

In Wisconsin, researchers at UW–Madison’s Wisconsin Energy Institute have published a new study on how to transform the solid leftovers of cow manure into versatile chemicals called medium chain fatty acids. These fatty acids are valued because they can be used to make biodiesel to power a car or into green jet fuels. The versatile building block of a chemical can also be converted into things like dyes, herbicides, and even medicine.

Researchers are already looking at other ways to apply similar technologies. Right now, farmers can turn raw dairy manure into biogas using a process called anaerobic digestion – basically putting the cow output into a big sealed-off container that microbes transform into fuel. This fuel can then be used in vehicles and machines right on the farm. Operations in Wisconsin have experimented with the idea of selling the excess fuel to others – most recently at the Dane County Landfill – but the venture is still in its infancy.  Ingle thinks the new discovery could help improve the process down the road.

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Category: Research

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