Critics of fuel cell cars have long said that producing hydrogen at an economical rate is just a bunch of horse crap. Now, in Ocala, Florida this criticism is being turned on its ear into reality as thoroughbred racehorses will now be used to generate the world’s lightest element.
Yes, it’s true that pooh is the new hydrogen as the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association (FTBOA) along with MaxWest Environmental Systems has received a $2.5 million grant from the State of Florida to build this waste to hydrogen facility. The waste plant is expected to process 50,000 tons per year of horse poop plus another 50,000 tons or organic waste and wood.
Around 24 jobs will be created by this facility that will have an output of around 10.5 megawatts. Ocala is known as the horse capital of the world (and believe me I’ve been there) with over 35,000 thoroughbreds living in the county, so disposal of horse pooh is indeed an issue.
The manure gasification plant heats the horse waste to around 1,400 degrees F. This creates methane, carbon monoxide and hydrogen that can be sold on the open market or used to create energy for the plant. The remaining residual ash can be mixed with asphalt or used in farm fertilizer.
In the past I’ve talked about turning hog manure into hydrogen and other organic waste as well. Recycling farm waste will not only be good for the environment, but will give farmers an added stream of revenue or source of power as well.
As someone who grew up on an Illinois horse ranch, shoveling horse poop from stalls to make a little extra money for high school, I never imagined back then that I was shoveling the stuff that would one day create clean energy. From horse to hydrogen is an idea I’m now liking a lot.