While seeing sculptures carved from perishable food is fun, it is also an incredible waste, since the creations often end up in trash. But that fortunately is not going to be the fate of this 1000-pound buttery depiction of a young boy leading his prize winning calf through a county fair. Instead he, will help power a working farm for three whole days!
Large butter sculptures are a tradition at Pennsylvania's Annual Farm show that took place from January 7th -14th. While the food art creation normally ends up in the landfill this year, the organizers decided to donate it to Steve Reiford, a local farmer who apparently is planning to turn into a source of energy.
While that may sound a little far-fetched, butter it turns out, actually has the capability if, handled the right way. However, as you can imagine it does take some special equipment and knowledge.
Steve will begin by mixing in the greasy sculpture into a giant manure pit, which is maintained at a sweltering 100°C, so that the microorganisms in the manure can work efficiently. The tiny creatures will first break apart the fat molecules in butter into simpler molecules and than, help them produce methane - A gas that can be easily converted into energy. Once the breakdown is complete, a process that takes about a month, all Steve will have to do, is hook up a generator. He estimates that the mixture will produce enough methane to power his entire farm for three whole days!
Using perishable food to create energy is not a new idea for Steve. The resourceful farmer regularly obtains leftover food waste from the nearby Walmart and converts it into energy. Often times, he creates so much, that he has excess to sell back to the grid! What a cool way to produce green energy!
Resources: NPR.org, Huffingtonpost.com