Burp-converter turns bovine methane into C02 and H20

Signal of change / Burp-converter turns bovine methane into C02 and H20

By Jordan McKay / 15 Aug 2018

A British agtech startup has developed a “smart” cattle nose-ring which converts exhaled methane to carbon dioxide, thereby reducing harmful bovine methane gas emissions.  Born from London’s Royal Academy Arts Innovation Center, the Zero-Emission Livestock Project (ZELP) expects the device to convert “up to 80% of the cow’s exhaled methane”. Upon detecting methane, the ring activates a “micro-oxidation” chamber which converts methane into carbon dioxide and water. Additionally, through monitoring of unit-specific methane output, the device also provides information regarding digestion rates and chemical flows for the animal.  Each device also comes with geolocation information and is connected to a cloud database, which is regularly populated with data.


So what?

According to the Food and Agriculture of the United States, the United Nations IPCC and other international organisations, meat production is a major contributor of greenhouse gases, with methane being the most harmful.  This device could potentially convert up to 80% of exhaled bovine methane to water vapour and carbon dioxide (a lesser greenhouse gas). Considering that cows emit a substantial amount of gas and nutrients, that they require fodder, and huge swaths of land, among other resources — does this device reduce impact enough to be worth the resources required to produce it?  Is it possible that this “burp-converter” is simply a means for livestock companies to market their products as greener? What level of impact must a tech “solution” provide to be considered legitimate in enhancing sustainability?




What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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