Osaka University ties up with town of Okoppe to turn cow poop into methanol using LEDs

Experiments were conducted at an agricultural and scientific research center in Okoppe, where biogas containing methane from the fermentation process of manure were added into a flask of liquid mixed with a special compound.

Researchers from the Osaka University and the town of Okoppe are conducting studies to produce methanol by illuminating biogas from cow manure with LEDs.

Okoppe is planning to build a dedicated experimental plant to serve as a new source of income for local dairy farmers.

Experiments were conducted at an agricultural and scientific research center in Okoppe, where biogas containing methane from the fermentation process of manure were added into a flask of liquid mixed with a special compound.

A blue-white LED light split the mixture into two layers: a clear one containing methanol and another milky layer containing formic acid.

Given that methanol is manufactured using costly fossil fuels, at Osaka University’s photochemistry professor Kei Okubo pointed out that using LEDs would allow methanol to be produced at a lower cost.

Okubo added that LEDs are cost-effective and environmentally friendly since they do not emit carbon dioxide, and 20 percent of domestic demand can be covered by cattle from Hokkaido.

Okubo initially researched the process in July 2020.

Okoppe and Osaka University opened a dedicated laboratory in the town earlier in July, intending to commercialize the technology.

In February next year, an experimental facility will be built on the premises of the town’s biogas plant, which will supply the gas.


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