If someone were to ask you what you could do with cow manure, the last thing that would come to mind would be to make clean water, right? Well Michigan State University's agriculture and engineering department has developed a new technology that can extract the nutrients out of the cow manure and create water that is clean enough for the livestock to drink.
"Here in Michigan we have a tendency to take water for granted," Steve Safferman, an MSU associate professor of biosystems and agricultural engineering, said in a statement. "But out west, for example, where drought remains an issue, the accessibility of clean water could make the difference between a farm remaining viable or going out of business."
Now the technology itself is pretty complex, but basically the machine uses an anaerobic digester, in which bacteria break down manure to release gas that can be collected and used as energy. The digester is coupled with a system that combines air stripping, ultra filtration and reverse osmosis to remove pollutants and leave clean water. The machine has been designed to collect 50 gallons of water from 100 gallons of manure.
The system has been in production at MSU for ten years now, and is now being under development at McLanahan Corp. They aim to start commercial production by the end of year.
Photo Credit: Getty Images