Necessity is the mother of invention. The father is unknown.
The following patent was issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office on January 3, 2006.

Process for the Utilization of Ruminant Animal Methane Emissions

patent#: US 6982161

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filed under Farm, Environment
view the full patent  | comments (25)
posted on 4/14/2006, patent issued on 1/3/2006

UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention (thanks, MOH) that this device traps cow belches not farts. I apologize for the mischaracterization. Thankfully, it has lost none of its comic appeal. -DW 6/1/2006

Wow, wow, and wow. Twenty three months ago, I heard a voice that told me that if I looked through hundreds of thousands of patents, I would one day encounter an invention could save the planet. That day has come.

Global warming is no joke, and neither is a specially-designed garment for trapping cow farts belches.

Cows farts belches contain methane, a notorious greenhouse gas. This invention traps the nasty flatulence and pumps it through a "rubber diaphragm," "plug balls," an "outflow one-way flap sphincter," and finally into into a special capsule. In the capsule, microorganisms consume the carbon-rich gas.

But these microorganisms not only breakdown the global-warming fumes. After their brief, micro-fabulous lives are over, the organisms can be harvested as useful biomass. According to the inventor, "Such biomass can be processed and sold as a nutritional foodstuff[!]"

Process for the Utilization of Ruminant Animal Methane Emissions

Comments on Process for the Utilization of Ruminant Animal Methane Emissions

mike | Dec 2, 2007 9:02 PM
You have a way with words..

GreenEngineer | Dec 7, 2006 7:01 PM
In response to Wes, the idea that water vapor is "90% of the greenhouse effect" is a persistent myth, not part of the scientific literature. More importantly, water vapor is a feedback effect (i.e. a response to a heating environment), not a forcing factor like CO2 or methane. For more detail, see:

whatigotsofar | Dec 5, 2006 2:02 AM
When is someone going to make a model for humans?

cow farts are it | Dec 6, 2005 12:01 PM
have a heart and let em fart I say.

Wes | Dec 6, 2005 1:01 AM
Well now ... yes, this is humorous. But the mind behind it (no pun intended) is a sad case of stupid environmentalism and bad science. All one has to remember is that 90% of so-called green-house gas is naturally-occurring water vapor. What'cha gonna do 'bout that, eh? I remember coming up with the idea of catching cow farts as a joke with my wife when we first heard the environmental scare of cow methane back in the early 90s. And someone actually did it. Oh my!

MOH | Dec 6, 2005 1:00 AM
Just to be pedantic, it's actually the other end they're harvesting the methane from. (I'm sad enough that I actually skimmed through the full patent)

enuh | Dec 6, 2005 7:02 AM
i think "picket fences" did a whole story on this a couple of years back. hope people still remember that wonderful show :)

wendy | Dec 6, 2005 6:01 AM
yes! we were talking about turning flatulence into fertilizer in geography class. good times.

drane devane | Dec 6, 2005 6:01 AM
how about carseats with methane collection systems. think of the cheap transportation costs

Emily | Dec 6, 2005 6:01 AM
EEWwww! | Dec 6, 2005 6:01 AM
Poor cows: a tube stuck in their butts...

Adam | Dec 6, 2005 6:00 AM
Wow! I've got to make one for humans with over six billion of us we could turn our farts into profit. I could just see it now fart commodities on the board in Chicago.

Don | Dec 6, 2005 12:00 AM
Couldn't you use this to power the fart powered rocket?,055,910 You could just keep a cow in your backyard and capture the rocket fuel anytime you wanted to shoot for the stars.

Matt | Dec 5, 2005 7:02 PM
I was considering doing my masters thesis on this subject, I can't believe that someone beat me to the punch. Dammit!!!

Mike Garrett | Dec 5, 2005 11:02 AM
You would never, pardon the expression, blow this one past "People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals". No kidding PETA would go nuts. I'm not sure I'd disagree with them. If we ever put habitats at the Lagrange points around earth, this system would probably be the only way to keep ruminants from trashing the enviornment. But here at home, it seems a little cruel, and kinda sad. Look out world, here comes the Brave New Cow!

Charlton Heston | Dec 5, 2005 11:01 AM
I thought Soylent Green was people?

Luke | Dec 5, 2005 9:01 AM
Considering that cows generate vast volumes of menthane in a long period of time, this invention may be useful. In addition, the thousands of cows present in dairy farms would make this very much worthwhile. However, saving the menthane and using it as a fuel would be more beneficial and economic.

Daniel | Dec 5, 2005 5:01 AM
Thanks, lskeeter. Spam comments have been an ongoing problem. I'm trying to stay on top of it!

lskeeter | Dec 5, 2005 4:01 AM
What the heck are these last few comments posted?

tiny | Dec 5, 2005 3:01 AM
Marketing will soon provide said foodstuff in a quick-to-prepare food called Pop-Farts!!!

DrLex | Dec 5, 2005 12:00 AM
I, for one, welcome our new fart recycling cyborg cow overlords.

Monica | Dec 4, 2005 3:00 PM
Jinkies! It reminds me of the water-capture suits from Dune! hehehe :o)

Monica | Dec 4, 2005 3:00 PM
Heh... I remember hearing about "methane farms" a couple years back - here are some links:;

Andy | Dec 4, 2005 2:01 PM
It probably catches their burps too. Also high in methane.

Tampa Tom | Dec 4, 2005 2:01 PM
MOOOOOO! Toooot! Is this guy proposing that we have cows breathe their own emissions? It looks like it! Maybe college frats will start using a device like this to haze their pledges!

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