Cow burps are a problem. Also cow farts. Those are responsible for 28 percent of all human-related methane emissions. When those methane-y gases are released into the atmosphere, they heat up the already warming planet. So some researchers are enlisting technology to help out.
The Sustainable Agriculture Flagship in Australia will install winged, wireless electronics with infrared sensors in cows' digestive tracts to monitor how much methane the animals are releasing. With that data, they can alter their diets to the most eco-friendly palette. And thanks to the wings, the devices will stay in the cows for weeks, sending plenty of info back to researchers. Ideally the researchers will have a device in the cow at all times.
In short, it's a sort of gross (but useful!) trial and error system. By checking what's coming out, researchers and farmers can affect methane release by what goes in.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.