Research: Study takes step towards low-emission future with technology analysis of cow gut

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Research: Study takes step towards low-emission future with technology analysis of cow gut

May 26, 2021

He’s investigating whether plastic waste can be diverted from landfills to fuel our vehicles, and now a CQ University researcher has helped shape Australia’s low-emission future – by analyzing technology to reduce cow burping.

PhD student Md Hazrat Ali pictured with lab test equipment.

Engineering doctoral student Md Hazrat Ali recently contributed to the first Low Emission Technology Declaration, published by Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor, in September 2020.

As part of the Australian Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap Working Group, Hazrat assessed the carbon reduction potential of feeds and supplements to reduce ‘enteric emissions’ in cattle. , that is, burps that produce methane.

The Rockhampton-based researcher completed the work during a three-month internship with the Australian Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, as the sole regional contributor.

“My work was really relevant to this part of Australia, and I had three months to review the technology and present my findings to a team of experts,” he explained.

“Enteric fermentation in cattle has been the main source of greenhouse gas emissions from Australia’s agricultural sector, and cattle are the largest producer.”

With Australian beef production expected to increase 16% by 2030, Hazrat said achieving carbon neutrality for the sector will be based on effective technological changes.

“I have performed a detailed analysis on a number of technologies, including the potential for reducing emissions from livestock with alternative feeds and dietary supplements. This work and other reports were used by the working group to assess and categorize the technologies.

Mr Hazrat said his experience of researching biofuels with CQUniversity Clean Energy Academy contributed to the study of the Low Emission Technology Declaration.

“Understanding the functioning of microbial systems in the production of biofuels has made it possible to assess the impact of different foods and food supplements, which can have an impact on the microbe to reduce the enteric methane produced in the stomach of the cow”, did he declare.

Mr Hazrat explained that Australia can tackle methane production from grazing livestock by producing more efficient feed.

He found that growing Leucaena forage legumes with local pastures could reduce the grazing area required for livestock by 50 percent per head, and the introduction of Australian red algae into dairy cattle feed could reduce grazing areas. 40 percent emissions.

“For example, cultivation of Leucaena with local pastures is a promising and appropriate improved feed option for the northern Australian cattle industry, and would reduce the grazing area required by 50% per head, with high productivity. increased as well, ”he said.

Australian Chief Scientist Alan Finkel congratulated the team, saying the release of the low-emission technology statement was “our biggest step yet in the transition to a low-emission future for Australia”.

“The working group and panel worked well together due to the goodwill, native intelligence and domain knowledge of all involved,” said Prof Finkel, who personally reviewed Mr. Hazrat.

On her final internship report, department supervisors said, “Hazrat’s work on animal feed and supplements brings together research that otherwise was not readily available to the department. This gave insight into the opportunities to reduce enteric emissions from cattle and sheep in the Australian herd and helped estimate the reduction and economic potential of these technologies, thus filling an information gap for our project.

Mr. Hazrat, who is finalizing his doctoral research, studied the use of plastic waste in biofuels.

The project identifies solvents capable of properly dissolving plastic waste at a lower cost than current recycling routes, in order to reduce harmful gas emissions and improve engine performance.

He completed his internship with the Australian Government as part of the Australian Postgraduate Research Intern program, which connects doctoral students to industry through short-term internships, enabling them to apply their professional and research skills and enabling them to thrive in a practical research environment that complies with industry standards. .


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Paul N. Strickland