Move Over, Oil: Animal Blood Is Catching On as an Alternative Fuel

Biogas from a slaughterhouse in Kenya can provide an entire community with green energy.

January 14, 2015

Samantha Cowan is a regular contributor for TakePart. She writes for a variety of online publications covering global development, music, and technology.

Slaughterhouses probably aren’t the first place most people would look to for green energy sources, but fuel made from animal waste and blood could start heating stoves in Kenya in the next two months.

For the Masai people of Southern Kenya, drinking blood from cattle has been a long-standing tradition on special occasions, such as when a man is circumcised or a woman gives birth. Elders and the sick also consume it on a regular basis because they believe it improves their immune system. The practice has helped make livestock something of a renewable resource for the Masai—and now, thanks to an innovative solution they’ve come up with, it’s being reimagined as a form of alternative energy.

At the Keekonyokie slaughterhouse, employees started in 2005 to recycle the crimson-hued waste that comes from slaughtering hundreds of cows, goats, and sheep each day to provide power for processing, sterilization, and cooling. But after taking care of their own energy needs, those running the slaughterhouse found they had plenty of biogas to spare.

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