News Stories

Cow Power

We've written before about how cow farts may be one of the major causes of global warming. Now researchers may have developed a true bovine battery.

No, we won't be propelling our cars of the future on gases derived from the rear ends of cows. Cows have 4 compartments in their stomachs. that the fluid in the largest compartment, the one that breaks down cellulose, may be used to break down the cellulose in corn and turn it into ethanol.

Researcher Rismani-Yazdi has designed a 2-compartment fuel cell that mimics a cow?s stomach. One compartment contains cellulose and rumen fluid from a cow?s stomach?which contains bacteria. As the bacteria attack the cellulose, it produces electrons which flow into the 2nd compartment as electric current. In LiveScience.com, Andrea Thompson quotes him as saying, "Energy is produced as the bacteria break down cellulose, which is one of the most abundant resources on our planet."

He and his team started working on their battery design 4 years ago and have now reduced it to a quarter of its original size, although it produces 3 times the power of the original model. It creates enough electricity to recharge an AA battery, which is infinitely rechargeable, according to Yazi, "as long as we keep feeding the bacteria with cellulose."

In another LiveScience.com article, Dave Mosher explains what makes HUMANS fart. The answer: EVERYTHING. It's actually normal to get rid of half a gallon of gas every day.

Some things make it worse: gulping down food and eating a lot of fruit or sugar. People who are lactose-intolerant have a lot of trouble with gas when they eat dairy products. Almost everyone is affected by beans, because they contain raffinose (and so does broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage).

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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