A Japanese chemical manufacturing company has been working on creating liquid biomethane from cow waste to be used as rocket fuel, potentially providing a solution for dairy farmers grappling with disposal challenges.
Air Water Inc. said it would begin conducting trials in the fall, with the fuel to be loaded on a rocket created by space startup firm Interstellar Technologies Inc. based in Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido.
Air Water has been manufacturing liquid biomethane in Hokkaido since 2021. It ferments the dung and urine in a plant constructed on a dairy farm in the town of Taiki before transporting the generated biogas to a factory in Obihiro.
The methane is then separated from the product, cooled and made into liquid biomethane.
Rockets require liquid fuel to generate enough power to blast off into space. While high-purity methane is usually manufactured using liquid natural gas, the company has been working on creating methane of a similar quality through waste-sourced biogas.
Interstellar Technologies will conduct tests to confirm the fuel created from cow waste can be used for its devices and aims to utilize it for its "Zero" rocket with a small satellite payload.
"We want to send the rocket up using carbon-neutral energy," a representative from Air Water said.