Diesel, Unleaded and... COW GAS - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Diesel, Unleaded and... COW GAS

Cows may look rather gentle.  They mainly eat and rest.  But some environmentalists warn that the cows' farting, belching and pooping is a major contributor to climate change.

One study estimates that cows, along with other livestock like sheep and goats, contribute about 18 percent of the greenhouse gases that are warming the planet.  That is more than cars, planes and all other forms of transportation put together. 

But scientists are finding ways to turn this smelly problem into rich solution.  Digestive emissions from cattle could be used to power cars of the future. 

Harnessing umm... cow farts as a fuel source may seem tricky, but it isn't impossible.  It's actually happening in Argentina.

Argentina is a major beef producing nation.  There's a collective herd of 55 million cattle, and this outnumbers the human population there. 

The researchers developed a special backpack that captures a cow's emissions via a tube attached to the cow's stomach.  And get this... they found that a cow produces between 800 and 1000 liters of gas each day. This is basically enough energy to run a refrigerator for 24 hours. 

This gas is then processed to separate methane from other gases such as carbon dioxide.  Methane is used to fuel everything from cars to power plants.  It is basically the same thing as natural gas. 

Right now, this method isn't very practical.  But some say it will be a big alternative by 2050. 


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