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Prince Charles has backed an initiative to put face masks on cows.
The 73-year-old royal – who is a passionate environmentalist – is a supporter of Francisco Norris’ start-up company Zelp (Zero Emissions Livestock Project) which wants to fit methane-catching devices to the creatures in order to reduce emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas as the animals emit around 95% of their methane from their mouth and nostrils.
Zelp have been working with ABP, one of the UK’s largest meat producers, to trial the devices to help cut the carbon footprint of British beef and their tests showed a 53% reduction in methane emissions, with the company hoping to reach 60 per cent next year when they launch their commercial rollout.
The masks pass the gases released by cows through a catalyst where they are released into the air as carbon dioxide and water vapour and they “comfortably” fit around the animals’ heads without impacting on their movement or habits.
Zelp’s invention was one of four to win a £50,000 from the Terra Carta Design Lab, a prize for students and alumni of the Royal College of Art, which forms part of Charles’ Sustainable Markets Initiative.
The Prince of Wales was among the panelists selecting the winners, alongside the RCA’s chancellor, Sir Jony Ive, who was also former chief design officer at Apple.
On Wednesday (27.04.22), Charles – who is also the Royal Visitor at the RCA – hailed the cow face masks as “fascinating” as he toured an exhibition showcasing the designs.
He told the winners: “I can’t tell you how proud I am to be associated with the Royal College of Art, particularly as a result of seeing the remarkable ideas presented by many of them alumni and existing students.
“May I say that it is critical because of the urgency we face in terms of the crisis confronting us in all directions and just how important is what their ideas represent in terms of finding solutions rapidly.
“I can only hope as a result of this and drawing more attention to what you are doing that we will have a better chance of winning this battle in shorter time. I can only wish you every possible success. Many congratulations, marvellous.”
A total of 125 inventions were submitted for the competition, with recyclable textile AMPHITEX, Aerseeds – artificial seed pods made from food waste – and The Tyre Collective, a device which collects particles from tyre wear.