Masks for cows aim to filter burps to curb greenhouse gas emissions
Dairy cows are seen at a farm, Friday, August 31, 2018 in Sainte-Marie-Madelaine, Que. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
TORONTO -- A company has developed a burp-catching device for cows in hopes that the invention will help curb greenhouse gas emissions.
The U.K.-based startup ZELP — or Zero Emission Livestock Project — claims that its burp-catching masks will help slow the spread of greenhouse gas emissions, a key component in the force of climate change.
The mask is a muzzle-like contraption that monitors the percentage of methane being released by a cow. When the monitor detects an excessive amount of gas, it then converts the methane gas into water and CO2 and releases it from the device.
Cattle farmers Francisco and Patricio Norris designed the device to help slow down the processes of food digestion without the interference of feed additives that are commonly used, but are also a main driver in gas in their gut.
“We believe the greatest contribution to solving this problem will come from developing and scaling technology to neutralize livestock methane emissions, and that is precisely what we are doing,” according to the company.
The mask is packed with a solar cell and thermos electric generators that allows the wearable to re-charge automatically when in direct sunlight.
The mask’s lifespan is typically four years. It is also recyclable.
The company says it can reduce methane emissions in the form of burps by a total of 60 per cent.
The mask is also capable of detecting when a particular animal is in heat, what the animal’s GPS location is and real-time monitoring of the oxidized methane.
“From a data perspective, our breath and methane sensing capabilities make us unique. Through this monitoring, we can minimize the spread and onset of disease, and tap into a brand new layer of analyses in the fields of digestion, feed optimization and disease management,” the company says.
Livestock animals are responsible for contributing nearly 15 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.
Although carbon dioxide emissions are more common when attributed to greenhouse gases, methane is 86 times more potent than CO2, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. By contrast, transportation such as cars and air travel accounts for nearly the same amount of methane emissions as livestock.
There are currently approximately 1.6 billion cattle on Earth, and their gas accounts for a significant amount of global warming.