American Electric Power is starting the nation's first large-scale program to convert gas from livestock manure into a less-potent carbon dioxide.

The company, which has issues with greenhouse emission in the manufacturing of electricity, is expanding an effort toward cleansing cow manure.

AEP announced today an agreement with an affiliate of Environmental Credit Corporation for a program that will capture and destroy methane from about 400,000 head of livestock, mostly cows, on about 200 farms.

AEP, in a press release, says methane from livestock manure accounts for 6.7 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

The release didn't say what percentage is produced by the electric generating plants.

The electric company says it will build covers for lagoons that are commonly used to store manure from livestock operations.

Those structures will capture and burn off the methane.

The process will convert the methane into carbon dioxide and reduce odors from the lagoons, the company said.

The cow manure project will be done on farms within AEP's eleven-state service area, which includes West Virginia.

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