From News of the Weird:
“Northern Ireland farmer William Taylor introduced his prototype Livestock Power Mill recently and claimed that the world’s 1.3 billion cattle, using treadmills for eight hours a day, could produce 6 percent of the world’s electricity requirement. (The cow must keep walking to avoid sliding down an incline.) [Popular Science, 4-16-10]“
Which got me wondering, what would such a contraption look like? I imagined a huge treadmill that would require multiple cattle to walk in unison—especially after having seen the crowded conditions in which feedlot cattle are housed. But, the prototype (at least) is a one-cow model—and is an interesting idea for a renewable power source.
As Inhabit.com (which has photos of the machine) indicates, cattle walk while grazing, and one cow on a treadmill can power four milking machines.
I gotta admit, it’s an interesting idea. I still prefer the idea of cattle grazing, but if we’re going to pen them up, we’d might as well give them the chance to exercise, and being able to reap electrical energy from their efforts is an intriguing concept.
Next: using stationary cycles to illuminate gym facilities.