Japanese researchers are conducting studies to produce methanol — a material used for fuel cells — by illuminating biogas from cow manure with LEDs. If the technique becomes commercialized, it will be the first technology of its kind worldwide.

The research is being conducted jointly by the town of Okoppe, along the Sea of Okhotsk in Hokkaido, and Osaka University. The town is planning to build a dedicated experimental plant, and expects it to be a new source of income for local dairy farmers.

In early June, researchers were conducting related experiments at an agricultural and scientific research center in Okoppe, adding biogas containing methane from the fermentation process of manure into a flask of liquid mixed with a special compound.