How methane-killing cow masks work (and Prince Charles loves them)

Developed by Britain’s Zelp (Zero Emission Livestock Project), it captures gas emitted from livestock and has found a huge supporter in the Prince of Wales.

Methane/Zeiloptic Cow Mask

Among the most innovative solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat the climate crisis, some scientists are working on completely unconventional solutions. One such device is an innovative wearable device for cows, which is a kind of cattle mask Capable of neutralizing methane They are emitted by animals during exhalation. Its development is due to the British team of Zelp (Zero Emission Livestock Project), a start-up from the Royal College of Art in London, whose scientists, engineers and veterinarians have studied a way to reduce the impact of methane through pioneering technologies. The pioneer cow mask is one of the four “Terra Carta Design Lab” Award Winners It was acquired this week by a panel of experts, including former Apple designer Joni Ive, and Prince Charles.

How do cow masks work?

These special masks, once worn around the animal’s head, use technology that is capable of capturing methane released during exhalation And through a catalyst, it oxidizes it, releasing it in the form of carbon dioxide and water vapor. “Technique – Zelp developers explained – Tracks methane reduction and key data for farmers, such as measures of animal welfare, efficiency, and fertility“.

The designers assure that the use of the device does not imply any changes in the feeding of the animals, in their rumination and in the interaction of the herd, and is also able to reduce emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas, by almost 60%. Which, contrary to what is believed, is one of the most powerful atmospheric pollutants, with a global warming potential of about 80 times that of carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after it was emitted.

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Cattle, like other ruminants, are unfortunately responsible for the production of this dangerous pollutant, since in their digestive system, especially in the part called the rumen, various bacteria are able to digest plant fibers and produce methane (methanogens). This gas is released continuously by ruminants, through exhalation and burping, and to a lesser extent through flatulence, accounting for an important share of total methane emissions. It is estimated that each cow, ruminating and burping, produces about 500 liters of methane in a day.

The Prince Charles He was one of the main proponents of the cow mask and spoke to the device designer during the meeting with the inventors, as the process sparked their curiosity. Francisco Norris, founder of Zelp, said it was a “great honor” to be able to speak to Prince after showing him his amazing invention for the first time. He and the three other prize winners go to around €65,000 and above all the possibility of having Ive as development supervisor, along with other members of the Sustainable Markets Initiative created by Prince Charles.

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