How To Save The Earth? With Cows on Treadmills

That headline up there may sound like Monty Python-esque absurdity, but it’s quite real. Or at least half of it is.

At a farm in Northern Ireland, farmer William Taylor is putting his cows on treadmills – not to lose weight, but to generate electricity. Yes, really.

The treadmills are placed at a slight incline, and to prevent themselves slowly sliding backwards, the cows have to walk, while a feed container gives them something to stay occupied. As they trudge along, the treadmill turns a crank which in turn spins a generator, and apparently, one cow walking produces enough power to run four milking machines.

Cows tend to walk up to 8 hours a day, so it’s claimed that this doesn’t strain them in anyway (though some external verification of that fact might be useful).

The astounding fact: Taylor has calculated that if the world’s 1.3 billion cows all were put on treadmills, they could supply 6 per cent of the world’s power.

Written by Navneet Alang

Navneet Alang is a technology-culture writer based in Toronto. You can find him on Twitter at @navalang
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