Butter sculptures are a big attraction at the Pennsylvania Farm Show — and apparently the bigger the better. This year saw a giant pastoral scene of a boy leading his calf. Cute, but you know us better — we love it because it is going to be dumped in a manure pit and from there will power a farm for three days.
How does this unusual recycling work? We're on it.
The butter sculpture is broken down and shovelled on the manure pile where microorganisms present in the manure will help break down the mixture into methane gas. The little organisms are kicked into a butter-fueled, gas-producing overdrive when stimulated by being heated to 100 degrees via a methane digester.
Despite the microorganisms being heated and exceptionally well fed, it is estimated it will take almost a month for the butter to be broken down into less complex molecules, and then further into methane. At that point, all that remains is to harness the methane by hooking it up to a generator.
Fortunately, this process is well familiar to Juniata County farmer Steve Reinford. He has relied upon his methane digester to power his house and farm, often generating so much energy he can sell it back to the grid. Prior to his 1,000 lb. butter windfall, he has relied upon food scraps from the local Walmart to power his generator.
Thankfully in addition to being an avid recycler, Reinford is also an art lover and plans to take pictures to commemorate the giant sculpture before it gets turned into one hot mess.
Via Huffington Post