Monday, July 14, 2008

Cow Farts collected in Plastic Tanks for Global Warming Study


I know that I report primarily about comics, but there are times when a civic minded blogger must deviate from established patterns and let you know about latest scientific research, like this report about Argentine scientists who are collecting cow farts in plastic tanks. The report says that

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".

Comments around my very scientific family so far have been:

"Imagine if that thing broke open in the lab!"

"I hope no one lights a match!"

2 comments:

Marek Bennett said...

Yeah, that's a real gas.

My dad's been really into that kind of thing for a while now... (Q.V. "Spencer Bennett" in this article), but has yet to figure out a viable business model.

-- Marek

grant said...

Ya know, its amazing when cows eat what they're supposed to, they don't fart as much. Cows aren't made to eat corn and grain, but we feed it to them so they'll be fat. They're made to eat grass.

Maybe someday we'll wake up and realize God made some things to be certain way and we need to stop messing with them.

Whew! Rant is over now. You can go back to your regularly scheduled program. :)