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Flights of the Future Could be Cow-Powered

23rd July 2013 • Posted in Announcements

People taking holidays to the Canary Islands in the future could well be travelling on planes powered by cow dung. That is if a novel new idea from a group of Australian students moo-ves on to the next level.

Cow Pat Travel

A recent competition called Fly Your Ideas saw a submission to fuel a plane with methane produced by the waste from cattle. It made the shortlist and, if selected in the final reckoning, will score the engineering students from Team CliMA over £25,000.

Whilst the idea may already sound as if it should be put out to pasture, methane produced by cows has been used to fuel vehicles before. Many farm vehicles in America are powered in this way for example.

A Lot Needed to Fuel a Plane

However, where is concerned, a lot more methane will be needed to take people on flights to the Canary Islands this summer.

Planes typically use about five gallons of aviation fuel per mile, whilst the Canaries are about 850 miles from the UK. With an average cow producing 30 gallons of dung a day, (equal to 70 gallons of methane over a year), a year’s worth of manure from 61 cows would be needed for just a one-way flight. Whilst this is a lot of cows, it is a possibility, as there are thought to be around 30 million dairy cattle in the world.

More importantly, however, the team which came up with the idea have said that it could slash carbon emissions on flights by over 95 per cent. If that is the case, the Aussies certainly deserve a little more than pat on the head.

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