Japan Startup Uses Cow Dung As Rocket Fuel
A Japanese chemical manufacturing company is pioneering the creation of liquid biomethane from cow waste to be used as rocket fuel, potentially offering a solution for dairy farmers facing disposal challenges, as reported by Kyodo News.
Air Water's process involves fermenting dung and urine at a plant located on a dairy farm in the town of Taiki, after which the generated biogas is transported to a factory in Obihiro. I Photo: Air Water
Air Water Inc. has announced plans to commence trials in the fall, with the intention of loading the newly developed fuel onto a rocket created by the space startup firm Interstellar Technologies Inc., based on Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido.
Air Water has been engaged in the production of liquid biomethane in Hokkaido since 2021.
Their process involves fermenting dung and urine at a plant located on a dairy farm in the town of Taiki, after which the generated biogas is transported to a factory in Obihiro.
At this factory, methane is separated from the biogas, cooled, and processed into liquid biomethane.
Rockets rely on liquid fuel to generate the required power for space launches. Typically, high-purity methane is manufactured using liquid natural gas. However, Air Water has been dedicated to creating methane of comparable quality using biogas sourced from waste, as also reported by Mainichi Shimbun.