Livestock trucks powered by cows

An announcement by Scania suggests the company have developed a truck which uses methane emitted from livestock in the trailer to power the engine. The methane generated by the Mobile Gas Generation system is stored in rooftop tanks and from there filtered through an intricate piping system and fed directly into the gas engine’s injection system.


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Scania is quoted as saying it sees huge potential for using the methane (CH4) generated by human activity to fuel its wide range of gas powered engines. It is estimated that each cow annually releases between 70 and 120 kilograms of methane. According to the climate experts, agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of the total release of greenhouse gases worldwide, more than the entire transport sector.


It is not until the reader notices the name of the Scania spokesperson, Björn Dung, and then the date of publication, April 1, when doubts start to arise about the veracity of the whole idea. However, Scania continues by outlining the principles behind the decision to follow this technology.


“While it’s not viable for all forms of road transport, this technology could make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Björn Dung, Head of Powertrain Development at Scania.


The specially designed livestock trailer used with the MGG technology is said to have a closed ventilation system, with an exhaust system channelling methane to the tanks on the trailer roof. Unlike present-day livestock trailers, the space is insulated and wholly sealed. Large windows provide an adequately light and airy environment for the cattle. A ventilation system ensures continuous air circulation and the intake of fresh air.


“Initially, there were concerns over animal welfare, but these have been fully addressed,” said Dung.


Scania’s statement tells us the MGG concept will initially be piloted in two, as yet to be determined, European countries. Following a full-scale assessment, Scania is confident that this new product will be adopted by the livestock industry.


We await the outcome with bated breath!


The report had gained added credibility as it closely followed the genuine release of Scania’s Annual Report and Sustainability Report for 2014, outlining Scania’s achievements in reducing the carbon footprint for customers as well as in Scania’s own operations.


“I see no conflict between logistical efficiency, CO2 reductions, social and ethical responsibility and strong financial performance; to me, they are a prerequisite,” said Scania’s President and CEO Martin Lundstedt, on the release of the report at the end of last week.


“We want to bring a new way of thinking about transport, one that is innovation driven, systems-based and founded on collaboration. By partnering with our customers and other stakeholders, we build real understanding of what is needed to transform transport systems and embed efficiency throughout the value chain.”