Milking Cows for ElectricityS

The livestock power mill makes cows even more productive turning farms into virtual power plants.

Instead of letting his cows range free on a field while they graze, a Northern Ireland farmer named William Taylor has jury rigged a treadmill to capture that spent energy and generate electricity.

One cow on a treadmill can squeeze out two kilowatts of power, enough to power four milking machines. A whole farms worth of cows, say 50, could put back an estimated $100,000 energy savings and refunds into the grid over three years.

Studies have said that cows who exercise produce more milk and Taylor plans to confirm those numbers in the fall. Another advantage Taylor sees from exercising the cows is that they produce less methane from either cow ends, letting us and the planet breathe easier. [PopSci]