Dairy Farm Cows Cause Methane Emissions: UC Riverside Scholars May be able to Solve it

By: Sharjeel Sohaib


Jul 25, 2022


Dairy Farm

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Dairy farms are responsible for around half of California’s methane emissions. UC Riverside researchers are about to contribute to monitoring farm-based methane emissions positively.

The state has suggested strategies to control dairy methane emissions to satisfy stringent climate targets. Javier Gonzalez-Rocha and other professors are working together to find ways of measuring actual methane emissions. 

Key Takeaways

  • About 50% of California’s methane emissions come from dairy farms. The state has recommended methods to reduce dairy methane emissions to meet strict climate objectives.
  • Drones can assist in detecting, localization, and estimating methane emissions at tiny spatial scales that would otherwise be challenging to resolve using conventional wind and air composition measuring techniques by combining wind velocity and air core measurement capabilities.

We Covered this in our Weekly Wire Roundup

Methane Emissions

However, a significant obstacle stands in the way of these initiatives: Dairy farmers can now not accurately gauge the quantity of methane generated on their property.

The number of cows, their food, the weather, and how moist the dung is stored all affect how much methane is created. This makes it difficult to estimate how much methane a farm generates. 

The most precise estimations are obtained from measurements taken by satellite or airplane, although these methods are costly and occasionally ineffective at the level of specific farms.

Javier Gonzalez-Rocha, a postdoctoral scholar at UC Riverside, aims to alter that. He is collaborating with professors of mechanical engineering Akula Venkatram and environmental sciences Francesca Hopkins to create airborne robotic devices that can directly measure methane emissions over a particular dairy facility.

Gonzalez-Rocha has created a new technique for collecting wind velocity estimations from wind-related drone motion disturbances. Professor Don Collins of environmental engineering and graduate student Zihan Zhu have modified this algorithm for a drone-based “air core” system.

Methane Gas Is Becoming a Big Deal

Methane is the second most common chemical on Earth, after oxygen. It’s also the third most common greenhouse gas, after carbon dioxide and water vapor. And methane is not only a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide โ€” but it also has a higher global warming potential.

Natural processes and human activity alike produce methane. Still, natural sources are vastly greater than humans: about 3 billion tons each year, compared with about 100 million tons coming from human activities.

Global Action Towards Methane Emissions

The world’s energy sector is responsible for about one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions. Many of those emissions come from methane, a potent greenhouse gas that traps heat about 25 times more efficiently than carbon dioxide.

Methane is emitted from oil and gas extraction, processing and distribution activities, and decomposing organic waste products in landfills.

In response to this global challenge, many countries have begun to reduce their methane emissions through regulations and programs that encourage the use of renewable energy sources.

UC Riverside and Stem Cell Research

The University of California, Riverside, is also supporting stem cell scientists in a bid to advance the current state of research and human resource training in the field. Startempire Wire reported about $5M in funding that the university plans to provide for training stem cell scientists.

We also wrote that:

Funding for stem cell researchers and companies has been on the rise. Dutch clinical phase biotech Neuroplast raised a total of โ‚ฌ 10 million (US$ 11.5 million) in funding from investors Lumana Invest, Brightlands Venture Partners, LIOF, and from the Innovation Credit from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, to further advance the clinical developmentโ€. 

Startempire Wire

Wrap Up!

Dairy farms emit plenty of methane, a greenhouse gas, in amounts comparable to those emitted by cars. Scientists and scholars are continuously improving ways to reduce methane emissions in cows that will not upset the dairy industry or hinder its economic growth. These solutions will be implemented as soon as possible, so expect a reduction in methane emissions soon.


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