Powered by Poop: Using methane digesters to turn waste into electricity.

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[MUSIC PLAYING] [ALARM BEEPING] [MUSIC PLAYING] Come here, Matthew. Want milk? You have to drink milk
if you’re a dairy farmer. Knock knock? Who’s there? Interrupting cow. Interrupting– Moo. Moo. Moo. [LAUGHTER] Another one. Another one? Oh boy. Bye bye. Have a good day. Be good. Bye bye. Be good. Love you. They’re headed to school,
Danielle is headed to the gym, and I’m headed to work. [MUSIC PLAYING] Someone has to feed the planet. I’m Brian Fiscalini. We are here at
Fiscalini Farms, which is a fourth generation
California dairy farm located in Modesto, California. When my great grandfather
started this farm 105 years ago, he started
with 12 Holstein cows. And we’ve been fortunate
enough to continue to farm on the same
piece of ground that he purchased
over 100 years ago. 105 years ago, milk was milk. And there was milk
in the grocery store, and it was one product,
and it all look the same, and it all tasted the same. We make a lot more
products today than what was being made when
my great grandfather was running this farm. So we milk 1500 cows
three times a day. We use a portion
of that milk to be made into our own
branded cheese, and then the rest of that
milk we sell to Nestle. We sell more than
just milk and cheese. We sell electricity. [MUSIC PLAYING] We take the waste from
all of those cows, and we turn it into power. [MUSIC PLAYING] So we utilize a technology
called a methane digester. So we have two tanks
that store cow manure. Two methane digester
tanks that each hold 750,000 gallons of cow manure. We heat those tanks up. So if you think about heat
and cow poop together, you’re going to make
a lot of methane gas. We capture that gas, and
we pipe it to an engine. That engine converts methane
gas into electricity. That smell is going to turn
your lights on at your home later tonight. We produce about 700
kilowatts per hour. Your average home needs about
one to one and a half kilowatts to run. The power that we produce
is enough electricity to run our cheese plant,
our dairy farm, and then we also have excess power
that powers about 300 homes in the community. I would guess that most people
that live in our surrounding areas would be very
surprised to know that their electricity actually
came from a renewable source, and was cow manure at one point. That’s just crazy. We’re not using it, anyway. Why not? I use power for a lot of stuff. Fans, lights,
clippers, obviously. Get some power out of
it, get some haircuts. Get some haircuts out of it. I like that Powered by poop. [MOOING] Just another day in paradise. So if we were to just have this
pile of cow manure out there, and we weren’t able to
apply it to the land, it would give off
greenhouse gases. What we’re doing is we’re
trying to reduce them as much as we can and use
it for another process. There are misinformed
consumers out there, and they may say, “Wow,
that industry is polluting.” And I think that if the
average consumer knew that there was this
100-year-old dairy farm in the heart of the
Central Valley in Modesto that was converting methane
gas into electricity, they would probably look at
farmers a little different way. When you think about it,
we’ve been sustainable for over 100 years. And maybe the word
“sustainable” wasn’t around or wasn’t thought
of the same way it is today, but my grandfather
had a very thorough intention of keeping this land around
for further generations. The decisions that
we make today, they’re going to
affect our children, and they’re going to
affect their children. I think when they get
a little bit older, I think they’re just going
to have a huge appreciation that dad’s not just a farmer. Dad is caring about
the environment, he’s caring about his cows. But when I come home
after a hard day of work, my job then is no longer
to be a dairy farmer, but it’s to be dad. We’re all in this together. And when I say all of
us, I mean all of us here on this farm, all of
us in Modesto, all of us in this country, in the world. Agriculture has to be part
of the solution of what the world looks like in
10, 20, 50 years from now. There will be a
great opportunity for the fifth generation
because of what we’re doing. If they want the opportunity
to come back to this farm, we are committed,
and we’re going to make sure that we
leave it in a very, very good condition for them. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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