Prince Charles’ prize backs face mask that cuts methane emissions from cow burps

By: Rosie Frost

A device that fits around the face of cattle and cuts methane emissions from their burps has won a £50,000 (€59,502) award backed by the British royal, Prince Charles.

The mask was designed by students from the Royal College of Art in the UK, who were one of four teams to be chosen as winners of the inaugural Terra Carter Design Lab competition. The prize money will go towards further developing their idea.

The device converts methane emitted by cows and was created by a design group called the Zero Emissions Livestock Project (ZELP). It neutralizes methane emissions in real-time and fits around the cow’s head in a way that doesn’t impact its ability to feed and interact with the herd.

Gases captured by the mask are oxidized using a catalyst and then released into the air as CO2 and water vapor. Its designers say that data is also captured throughout the life of the animal to help optimize welfare on farms, improve productivity and create a ‘robust’ log of greenhouse gas emissions.

There are around 1.6 billion cattle on the planet and each produces up to 400 liters of methane a day. Emitted via belching or farting, this makes them significant contributors to the problem of global warming.

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