All the World's Cows on Treadmills Could Power Six Percent of Earth

Illustration for article titled All the World's Cows on Treadmills Could Power Six Percent of Earth

When roaming open pastures, cattle can walk up to eight hours a day while grazing but they can't always get as much exercise when confined to a barnyard. One enterprising farmer, however, has invented an ingenious means of getting his herd mooving—and generate a bit of free electricity on the side.


On his farm in Northern Ireland, William Taylor built the contraption above and dubbed it "the Livestock Power Mill." It's an unpowered treadmill set on a steep enough incline that the cow has to keep walking lest she be dumped out the back end of it. There is also a feed bag mounted to the uphill side for encouragement.

The treadmill's action spins an axle that in turn spins a gearbox to drive a 2 kW generator. The single-cow prototype was reportedly powerful enough to run four milking machines. Were the entire 1.3 billion cattle on Earth to walk on these machines for eight hours a day, Taylor figured, they could produce six percent of the world's power.

Unfortunately, this prototype made its debut way back in 2010 and there hasn't been a peep about it in the four years since. [PopSci - Inhabitat]

lead image: William Taylor via Popular Science



...and you guys don't even take into account all the methane they produce!

Lets see... 250L of Methane a day per cow plus another 2 kwh... carry the 1...

That's something like 325 cubic hectometers of methane per DAY!

Why don't we have giant sealed barns with treadmills that generate massive amounts of electricity from treadmills and burning methane?