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Disruptive Technology Can Decrease Enteric Methane Emission

July 28, 2021
  • 95% of methane released by cows comes out as burps and through the nose

  • Wearables are smart electronic devices that go over a cow’s nose to filter the methane released and turn it into CO₂.

  • Wearables can be used in conjunction with other methane reduction strategies and have the capacity to provide digital insights in the future.


Disruptive technology can decrease enteric methane emission
Enteric methane is a natural by-product of cattle digesting feed in the rumen, or gut, and is released through the cow’s mouth and nose. As much as 95% of methane created through the process of enteric fermentation is released out the cow’s nose through burps. 

While the primary focus of enteric methane reduction has been on what happens inside the cow during digestion (feed strategies, for example), the AgTech industry is starting to investigate what can be done outside the animal. A new and innovative solution appears to be wearables.
Wearable technologies are smart electronic devices that are worn on or close to the surface of the skin. For cows, this can look like small wearable devices that are placed on top of their noses.

One example design, created and manufactured by Zelp, is placed above cows’ mouths. Once the wearable is in place, a set of fans powered by solar-charged batteries draws up the burps and traps them in a chamber with a methane-absorbing filter. When the filter is full, a chemical reaction turns the methane into carbon dioxide, which is then released into the air.

Wearables provide a handful of advantages. Notably, they can be used in conjunction with other methane reduction strategies, adding to the emission reduction impact. Additionally, they can monitor methane emission. They also hold the technological capacity to capture a range of behavioral and physiological data and provide digital insights.

While still in the early stages of development, the latest information on wearable technologies and their impact on methane emissions is worth staying up to date on. By investing and exploring new technologies and solutions, we can learn more about the best approach and provide multiple options for farmers to explore when they are ready.