By Susmita Baral |
Saint-Aignan’s Beauval zoo has plans to recycle panda poop (and other animal feces), and turn it into gas and electricity, according to Agence France-Presse. The AFP states:
The zoo announced on Friday it would build a facility that would process the dung of the two pandas and of other animals, as well as plant matter, to
produce biogas that will then be turned into heat and electricity.
The plant, which will cost 2.3 million euros ($3 million), is expected to be operative in the spring of 2014.
Some of the energy produced will be used to keep gorillas and manatees – also known as sea cows – warm in their pens, and to heat the building that houses elephants in the winter, allowing a 40 percent saving on the gas bill.
And this isn’t the first time. About a year ago, we reported that an Australian company was suggesting a solution for China‘s poo problem—the country generates close to 1.5 million tons of pig feces each year—that involves China using pig poo to create power. With a bioreactor, the feces would be converted into biofuel. The biofuel could then be used for cooking and heating, or even as fertilizer for farmers. Ravi Naidu, chief scientist at CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC Care) sums up the perks to Reuters: “The benefits are energy and fuel for farmers as well as preventing further contamination of the environment.”
Prior to this, five New England dairy farms installed an anaerobic digester that would make biogas from manure and food waste. The concept was to provide farmers with a way to reduce waste while making some extra money on the side since the biogas could be sold.
What’s more, the Denver Zoo has implemented a motorized rickshaw imported from Thailand that runs on animal feces! How does it work? The rickshaw is fed gasified pellets made of animal feces and trash, which is turned into syngas that is used to generate electricity. Not only is this method environmentally friendly but it’s also a financially savvy move as well: According to the Denver Post, the rickshaw will save the zoo $150,000 a year! In a press release, the zoo said: “Furthering the zoo’s efforts to be a national leader in sustainability, the gasification system will convert more than 90 percent of the zoo’s waste into usable energy, eliminating 1.5 million pounds of trash currently going to landfills annually.”
Further south in Mexico, Terra, a Mexican Internet provider, helping the planet stay clean in a more obvious way. The company is now offering free Wi-Fi in public parks for dog owners who clean up after their pets. Special bins have been placed in 10 parks in Mexico City where owners can deposit dog feces; the more feces pet owners drop, the more minutes of free Wi-Fi they can get! The only caveat is that the bin appears to have a simple scale, raising the question if it can actually differentiate feces from garbage. But when all is said and done, does it really matter what goes into the bins so long as the parks stay clean?