Monday, 26 April 2010
William Taylor - a farmer in Northern Ireland - has created the Livestock Power Mill, a treadmill that generates power as cows walk on it. According to his calculations, if the world’s 1.3 billion cattle used treadmills for eight hours a day, they could produce six percent of the world’s power!
Cows are locked into a pen on top of a non-powered, inclined belt. To avoid sliding down the incline, the cow needs to walk, which turns the belt. As the belt turns, it spins a gearbox, which powers a generator. A feed box hooked to the front of the device keeps cows occupied and happy. One cow can produce about two kilowatts of electricity, enough energy to power four milking machines.
Apparently this is not cruel to the cows as the routine is actually similar to the animals’ normal behavior. Cows walk about eight hours a day while grazing. So they get the same amount of exercise walking on a treadmill, whilst providing power.
The Livestock Power Mill is still a prototype on Taylor’s farm, but he estimates that a small farm could earn back a 50-cow system’s $100,000 price tag in a mere three years.
Via: Popular Science