January 15, 2009
The focus of most eco-technology is improving the efficiency of things in order to minimize their carbon footprint. Car manufacturers aim for more fuel efficient cars, manufacturers to try for streamlined processes and everywhere people are scaling back to use less energy.
A study presented by Cornell University and Monsanto revealed that bovine somatotropin or bST, also called bovine growth hormone (BGH), a protein hormone produced in the pituitary glands of cattle, could make a real difference. Using BGH could reduce the overall carbon footprint by as much as 9 per cent.
Research shows that cows given BGH can produce 10 more pounds of milk per day. In terms of eco inputs, that means less land is required, less water and feed is consumed, and less fuel is needed. On the other side of the eco-quation, these high-performance cows produce less manure and greenhouse gas per unit of output.
Translated into energy usage, BGH on a large scale could save enough electricity to power 15,000 households; generate enough heat for 16,000 households; and save enough water to supply 10,000 households. The reduction in the carbon footprint is equivalent to removing 400,000 cars from the road or planting 300 million trees.
Put another way, a 150-cow dairy producing 10 more pounds of milk per cow would be equivalent to removing 38 cars from the road or planting 28,000 trees.
Indeed, biotechnology is making the most unlikely eco-friendly industry a little easier on our environment with what amounts to a simple solution to the problem: instead of making more, make things better.