French zoo to generate its own electricity from panda poo

fortherrock/CC BY 2.0

Last year, France's Beauval Zoo welcomed two pandas to their establishment, on loan from China at a cost of around $1 million per year. But now, thanks to plans underway for a new processing plant to convert waste into electricity, the two endangered animals will soon be helping to cut the zoo's energy bill -- with heaps of their potentially-powerful poop.

The $3 million facility, slated for completion next Spring, will generate electricity by burning biogas collected from animal droppings and other organic waste, and the zoo has plenty to go around. While most of the creatures on exhibit at the zoo are expected to contribute, the pandas alone will produce more than 65 pounds of 'fuel' each day.

Kevin Dooley/CC BY 2.0

All told, Beauval Zoo estimates that the processing plant will cut energy costs by 40 percent, with unused electricity being sold to the region's power company for additional gains.

"This initiative is a perfect fit in the policy of sustainable development that we have been applying for a long time," zoo spokeswoman Delphine Delord tells The Local.

Thankfully, this technology works well even in places where panda droppings may be in short supply. In recent years, biogas systems using all manner of organic waste have gained momentum as a renewable energy alternative across the U.S. and Europe, as well as in developing countries where reliable electricity may otherwise be unavailable.

Via The Local

Tags: Biofuels | Endangered Species | France | Renewable Energy

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