Scientists turn cow manure into clean drinking water
Breakthrough in environmental science as potentially a new source of clean drinking water is developed
Wednesday 04 June 2014
It's not quite turning water into wine, but scientists in the United States have developed technology that turns cow poo into water.
The McLanahan Nutrient Separation System, which has been developed by Michigan State University, is an anaerobic digester which takes waste and makes energy coupled with an ultrafiltration, air-stripping, reverse osmosis system.
What goes in manure, comes out water clean enough for livestock to drink, or, at the very least, dispose of in an environmentally friendly way.
“If you have 1,000 cows on your operation, they produce about 10 million gallons of manure a year,” said Steve Safferman, an associate professor of biosystems and agricultural engineering at Michigan State University, who helped develop the project.
“About 90 per cent of the manure is water but it contains large amounts of nutrients, carbon and pathogens that can have an environmental impact if not properly managed.”
The system produces about 50 gallons of water per 100 gallons of manure, but they're hoping to soon increase that to 65 gallons.
There are more than 87 million cows in the US, so if the system works then theoretically they could produce 870 million gallons of clean water every year.
“Here in Michigan we have a tendency to take water for granted,” Steve Safferman, an MSU associate professor of biosystems and agricultural engineering, said in a statement. “But out west, for example, where drought remains an issue, the accessibility of clean water could make the difference between a farm remaining viable or going out of business.”
Perhaps more feasibly, however, is what this invention can do for manure disposal. The US Environmental Protection Agency says that poorly managed manure has consequences – poison drinking supplies, algae growth in water systems, and even air pollution.
- 1 Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
- 2 A politically correct lefty goes to see Top Gear live – you'll probably believe what happened next
- 3 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 5 Snoop Dogg on why he doesn't regret displaying misogyny towards women
Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
How China's richest man Li Hejun lost $15bn in an hour - and made a fortune
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Snoop Dogg on why he doesn't regret displaying misogyny towards women
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...