As oil prices soar, cow manure is getting more attention as an alternative fuel source, particularly in Texas, the country’s biggest producer of cow patties.

For years, researchers have studied manure as a fertilizer. But at a time when state and federal energy bills have called for increasing renewable energy sources, there is more focus on developing cow dung as an alternative to coal or natural gas.

A future research project will examine the use of manure from dairy cows which, like swine manure, requires a different process to capture the energy, Sweeten said. But cattle for meat outnumber other concentrated animal feeding operations in the Texas Panhandle.