Wednesday, 04 August 2021 14:30

Time to mask cows?

Written by  Milking It

OPINION: This is the season of masks. But this mask isn’t for Covid—it helps reduce methane emissions.

While some start-ups try to tackle the problem with plant-based burgers designed to convert carnivores, or seaweed supplements that make cows less gassy, one company is trying to capture emissions directly with a mask-like device that sits above a cow’s nose.

“Because of our background in livestock farming, we knew that cattle exhale most of the methane through their mouth and nostrils, so the obvious approach was to work on a device that would capture these emissions at the source,” says Francisco Norris, CEO of Zelp, the UK-based start-up.

A sensor on the device detects methane as the cow or bull breathes, and when levels of the gas pass a certain threshold, the technology draws the methane into the mask to a mechanism that oxidizes the gas, turning it into lesspotent CO2 and water vapor.

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The news has gone from bad to worse for a2 Milk - the company Synlait had hitched its wagon to.

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