The Gas They Pass

My favorite topic in this blog has arisen once again. Yep, it's back to those pesky methane-producing cows!

A few brave Argentine scientists have gone about measuring just how bad gas emissions from cows really are. By hooking a tube from the rear end of the cow to a large tank strapped on top of it, they were able to deduce that cows emit an absolutely astounding number of anywhere from eight-hundred to a thousand liters of emissions a day! This means that those friendly black and white behemoths you used to count on car trips as a way to pass the time are responsible for almost a third of greenhouse gas emissions in Argentina.

So reading this, I began to wonder if we could use the energy generated by cow gas for practical purposes. And I came up with the following list:

Things you could do with cow farts:

1. Power future NASA missions to other planets

2. Power your local bus line

3. Generate electricity to heat your home

4. Create all of these wonderful chemicals. hydrogen, methanol, acetic acid, and acetic anhydride

Cow farts collected in plastic tank for global warming study





Scientists are examining cow farts and burps in a novel bid to combat global warming.




A cow stands in her pen at the National Institute of Agricultural Technology in Castelar, near Buenos Aires. Argentine scientists are taking a novel approach to studying global warming, strapping plastic tanks to the backs of cows to collect methane




Argentine scientists are strapping plastic tanks to the backs of cows

Experts said the slow digestive system of cows makes them a key producer of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that gets far less public attention than carbon dioxide.


In a bid to understand the impact of the wind produced by cows on global warming, scientists collected gas from their stomachs in plastic tanks attached to their backs.

The Argentine researchers discovered methane from cows accounts for more than 30 per cent of the country's total greenhouse emissions.

As one of the world's biggest beef producers, Argentina has more than 55 million cows grazing in its famed Pampas grasslands.


Guillermo Berra, a researcher at the National Institute of Agricultural Technology, said every cow produces between 8000 to 1,000 litres of emissions every day.

Methane, which is also released from landfills, coal mines and leaking gas pipes, is 23 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

Scientists are now carrying out trials of new diets designed to improve cows's digestion and hopefully reduce global warming. Silvia Valtorta, of the National Council of Scientific and Technical Investigations, said that by feeding cows clover and alfalfa instead of grain "you can reduce methane emissions by 25 percent".

P.S. if you're curious to read more about cows and their footprint check here.

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