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Cow Burps Tapped For Fuel 85

Dave Knott writes with this intriguing snippet from CBC: "Argentine scientists have found a way to transform the gas created by the bovine digestive system into fuel, an innovation that could curb greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Using a system of valves and pumps, the experimental technique developed by Argentina's National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) channels the digestive gases from bovine stomach cavities through a tube and into a tank. The gases — which otherwise are commonly known as burps, or "eruptos" in Spanish — are then processed to separate methane from other gases such as carbon dioxide. Each head of cattle emits between 250 and 300 liters of pure methane a day, enough energy to keep a refrigerator running for 24 hours."
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Cow Burps Tapped For Fuel

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  • turn the cow into a battery

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @12:41PM (#45202207)

      turn the cow into a battery

      I don't think Carrie-Ann Moss looked that bad.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @12:41PM (#45202225)

      I hated that part of the matrix. The original story was that the humans were used for their brains. The machines lived inside the networked human collective mind, because the human brain was--in this fictitious universe--the most powerful and energy efficient computer. But the studio thought that was too abstract, and so came up with the battery idea.

      • by SJHillman ( 1966756 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @12:52PM (#45202395)

        I always thought the human battery idea was sort of like saying we use potatoes to power the LHC.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @12:56PM (#45202493)

        But the studio thought that was too abstract, and so came up with the battery idea.

        It actually makes sense when you realize that the 'free' humans were not picked for their mastery of science. Someone was lied to by a program, Morpheus believed the person (probably through a chain of re-tellers), and that's what he told Mr. Anderson. They were all too busy fighting their odd war of survival to notice that the science they accepted was wrong, and that electricity could not be the AI's motive for keeping the Matrix up and running.

        AKA: unreliable narrator.

      • Not to mention that the battery idea allowed the studio to put a very prominent Duracell product placement right at one of the biggest "climactic realization" moments of the movie.
    • by asylumx ( 881307 )
      That's exactly what I was thinking -- especially when you think about the "stem cell burger" we were recently able to create, with a few harvested stem cells and some calf's blood.
  • Ah come on... Cow BURPS? There are a whole lot of ways to get methane from the things cows expel, mostly from the OTHER end, that are a whole lot easier and effective than what they burp up. But hey... Who wants to shovel the stuff into the tank where we can easily capture the methane it generates?

    I'm calling BS on this.. (grin)

  • by tanveer1979 ( 530624 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @12:41PM (#45202211) Homepage Journal

    I repeat, this is Bullshit!

  • (to be funny) Imaging this implemented on an industrial scale...Warehouses filled with pens of cows hooked up to all sorts of tubes, and strange looking devices, possibly a treadmill, lol. This is interesting in theory, but in practice...I don't see it working.lol
    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      What if tapping 20 cows means you can run the milking machine form free for the rest of your herd?

  • This doesn't seem all that original... I've seen more than a few instances of pig farmers trapping the methane generated by pig farts.

  • OMG (Score:4, Funny)

    by koan ( 80826 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @12:54PM (#45202445)

    I visualize a vast tower full of tubing hooked to burping cows powering a massive AI and all the humans are jacked into the other side living in the Mootrix.

  • by cruff ( 171569 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:01PM (#45202573) Homepage
    This sounds like it could be a fertile subject for steampunk adaptation! Just imagine herds of cows with tanks attached. For dairy herds, when your cows come in for milking, you would also collect the accumulated methane at the same time. Cows with balloons filled with self generated methane could be flying around the skies!
  • by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:19PM (#45202871)
    One time I sneezed half the papers off my desk. They should look into that too because its an awful lot of energy.
  • If they did this, no doubt the long-term presence of the tubes would cause respiratory infections. TRIPLE THE ANTIBIOTICS.
  • How about human burps, or better yet, excrement? How about managing to convert all human & animal excrement into fuel, particularly gasoline compatible fuel, that can run in our cars?
    • Who run Barter-town?

    • The tech to do so is already out there. SASOL which is a south african petroleum products company, has gas to liquids plants that can produce gasoline and diesel products from methane. All you need to do is feed the methane from landfills and sewage plants to these gas to liquids plants, and you have gasoline equivalents from human excrement. The key to this technology is finding a cheap plentiful source of gas and high gasoline and diesel prices.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/04/business/energy-environment [nytimes.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's amazing what we'll do to animals to make a buck...

  • Really regretting those burritos last night, this fridge is looking at me a bit funny.

  • by Yergle143 ( 848772 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @02:32PM (#45204085)

    The best Dune adapt has been there first. [youtube.com]
    Great tech, now I can add another reason why I'm a vegetarian.

  • It would be awesome if every steak or rack of ribs came with a canister of methane that I could plug into my BBQ grill.
  • by gomiam ( 587421 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @03:56PM (#45205393)
    I think the word you are looking for is eructos.
  • Each head of cattle emits between 250 and 300 liters of pure methane a day, enough energy to keep a refrigerator running for 24 hours

    Now Frink can make his intra-bovine [russr.net] ice cream [russr.net] maker run directly from cow burps!

  • Since most cows are life long cell mates why not just make the building airtight and put a methane extractor in your air exchange?
    • Finally, a non-retarded comment. I'm sure I saw something along these lines a while back where the cows spent a lot of time under a dome collecting expelled gasses
  • It's a bit dated, but http://www.globalmethanefund.org/methane-untappd_potential-12.01.09.pdf [globalmethanefund.org] gives an overview of the scale of the issue. At 29%, "Enteric fermentation" is the largest class of anthropogenic methane emissions by a large margin.
  • I'm not a veterinarian - nor do I play one on TV - but I understand that the bovine digestive system is really not optimal for digesting what we feed most cows these days (corn). I can't help but wonder if their methane production would go down if we went back to feeding them what they would ordinarily eat.
    • Sure, but you won't like the meat that results. Cows feed only grass take longer to get to slaughter weight. The beef produced is leaner, tougher and most folks strongly prefer grain fed beef as a result.

      So nearly 100% of the beef consumed is from animals which are initially raised on grass, then spend the last few months of their lives being finished in feed lots. You have to slowly transition them to grain because the increased methane production of grain will kill them if you go too fast and to make t

  • :|
    I bet it would be
    a bit of a cash cow.

  • My dad used to joke about studies done in the 1970s about the viability of capturing methane from cows. I guess those cows showed him...?
  • by jgarry ( 126205 )

    My roommate "predicted" this as part of a speech class in college, early 1975. He also drew up a Fartmobile, tubes coming out from under the seats. He didn't have a solution for the problem that girls don't fart.

  • They have a plastic tube coming out of the stomach wall connected to a mylar balloon. It is as shocking as that cow with a glass window in its side that allows the scientist to reach in and take samples of semi digested stuff from the cow's stomach.

    Forget the belches and farts, cowshit has enough methane. It is far easier to sweep all the solid waste from the cow to retention ponds, cover it with a plastic sheet and collect the methane. It reduces odor pollution, gets methane fuel, and produces non-smel

  • If each HEAD of the cattle emits so much methane, imagine how much the other end must emit!

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