Animal Kingdom to the Rescue

| May/June 1974

The following article was taken from the Western Pennsylvania Motorist. We thank them for the use of same.

From merrie olde England (where else?) comes the most unorthodox proposal yet for solving the gasoline shortage. Harold Bate, 17 years ago discovered that the methane gas that escapes from cow manure could run his automobile.

An enthusiastic inventor, he leaped into the cow manure project with much gusto when he discovered that this power source cost but 3 cents per gallon. After feeding the animals who produce the waste with a methane producing substance he set about the task of collecting the raw materials. The cattle were most cooperative and in due time Mr. Bate had more on his hands, er. . .in his bucket than was needed for his initial test. He collected about 100 pounds to produce the equivalent of 8 gallons of gasoline. After placing the feces in a suitable container, he sat back and watched as the cauldron bubbled mysteriously for 14 days. Scoffing at thoughts of weariness brought on by smelling the aroma of the bubbling goo, he tested the gas and found it to have an octane rating of 127, be totally nonpolluting, and after the initial separation from the raw material, odor-free. For the do-it-yourselfer, this process may seem a bit sticky and some readers have probably decided that they would rather buy their fuel already refined. Bottled methane is available at various supply stores.

At left is Roger Eshelman's 6 HP IHC Famous engine. It is not quite finished but in good running order. This engine was purchased from Harry Patterson of Oregon, Mo. in sad condition. It had been tipped off its trucks [the trucks shown are not the original] onto its side in a pasture and had been for many years in that position. Center engine is a 1 HP FM Eclipse belonging to Roger. At right - Elsa Meckley of Paris, Mo. came again to the show and brought his Aermotor, Monitor and Galloway engines to liven up the show - if he got the chance.

The hardware necessary to make your car run on methane is quite simple. It consists of an adapter to supply the engine with gas instead of gasoline, and heavy steel containers that fit in the trunk of your car for the methane. A rubber hose connects the two.

One further note; should you feel a bit squeamish about following a herd of cattle around all day, Mr. Bate reports that other animal waste material can be substituted. He also said that the used residue makes excellent fertilizer.