What is a Cowship?
Cowships are powered by farting cows. Our plan is to buid one to prove the technology.
Cow farts are methane gas, which is lighter than air. Collect enough of the stuff and you can float anything. Cowships are cow-gas-powered-floating-dairy-farm-airships. They're free-range sky farms which will cancel the environmental impacts of cows and help us re-forest the world.
Early technical sketch of Cowship V1.0
Why cows must fly:
Cows are friendly and handy to have around. But cows fart and belch vast amounts of methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas that has twenty times the effect per kg on our atmosphere than carbon dioxide. They also use a lot of land, which could instead be re-forested, or used to grow food, and they pollute rivers with their manure. But methane is a valuable fuel, and it’s also lighter than air. Theoretically, it could be used to power engines just like petrol and make things float like helium.
If we captured all the methane from all the world’s cows and used it to float them in the sky, could we then reforest much of the world’s farmland? Probably. But cows need food and probably don’t like flying. The solution: float not just the cow, but the cow inside a virtual meadow, inside a grass growing Cowship.
Engineering CAD model of Cowship V2.0
How Cowships work:
While in Cowships, cows wearing virtual reality goggles believe they are living in lush pre-agriculture grasslands and forests rather than in the sky, or on farms. As they walk on treadmills their gas is collected in enormous balloons for flotation and used to drive propellers to fly them above cities.
Additionally, their manure is fed into biogas-tanks where it is stirred, mixed with rainwater and fermented to produce even more methane gas. The by-product of this fermentation process is a rich liquid fertiliser that’s mixed with rainwater and used to grow on-board hydroponic grass. Cowships are completely self sufficient in grass, energy, water and agri-nutrients.
It takes around nine years of cow gas (from farting, berping and from manure) to float one cow and it's cowship. Once afloat, additional cow gas is used to power a small microlight engine to fly the Cowship around the city.
Cowships are autonomously controlled by a computer system which pilot the ship, manages passenger pick-ups, milk delivery and monitor cow health.
Cowships are highly explosive. The methane stored in a Cowship balloon has the equivelent explosive power of many thousands of sticks of dynamite. This is clearly a potential problem, but as long as ballon mounted lightning-rods are well maintained, they should be safe.
Flying milkshake cafes:
Cowships will fly above cities providing a system of zero-emission public transporting milk-shake cafes to be hailed from a Cowship phone app.
Where is the project up to?
We are working on: full engineering models for the ship, cow gas collection tests, methane helmet design, basic flying cow aerodynamics, manure fermentation systems, explosive gas production and more. We can't tell you anything else yet (many of our tests may not be strictly legal), but we do hope to have our first cow in the sky in early 2018. Please follow us on Instagram for updates.
3D printed model of Cowship V2.0