Apr 21 2010
Cow power an experiment in alternative energy sources

There seems to be a mad dash to find an effective new source of sustainable natural energy; we have looked at solar power, but there is no way to collect and store a decent amount of the suns power for night time use. Wind generators strong enough to generate enough electricity are considered ugly, wave power has not been developed far enough and geo thermal power stations are located too far from habitable towns and cities; there just doesn’t seem to be a realistic answer to our problems. Maybe we’re looking at it in the wrong way, the solution may not be to look for a massive centralized and controlled power source that supplies large populations, but rather to design small devices that can supply single homes, leaving it in the hands of the consumer.

William Taylor a farmer and eco enthusiast from Northern Ireland has come up with a slightly odd invention that may not solve the world’s power crisis, but generates enough power to keep him from having to pay any bills on their milking machines. As a farmer he realized that his cows spent a good part of their day wandering about the field grazing, in total about 8 hours a day, he realized that he could exploit this potential energy source and turn their movement into electrical power. William did this by hooking up a treadmill at a slight angle, so that the cow had to keep walking to keep from slipping back down and planting a bucket of food in the front compartment. The downside to this invention, besides being slightly unethical, is that it produces a mere 2 KW’s of power.  

Obviously not everyone will agree with this idea, as cows are living creatures that should be free to wander around the field. But it illustrates that there are solutions everywhere and in everything around us.


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