Photo via: J Hull
Poop power, err otherwise known as biomass energy, has been a part of the Treehugger vocabulary for awhile now, but especially over the past couple months. Renewable energy comes in many forms, but one of the least obvious would have had to be from the waste of animals. While farmers have been getting involved in the creation of biomass for awhile now, a new player has gotten involved in the process... the nation's zoos.The Potential for Colorado Zoo Poo
Zoo's offer many wonderful sites and sounds, but one of the least favorable sites is all the waste droppings. The Denver Zoo is certainly not the first to think of using its massive amount of animal waste to help subsidize their costs, but even more thankfully, they won't be the last. "We need to do something with this. We want to clean it—and if we can, we want to gain additional benefits from it," says George Pond, vice president of planning and capital projects at the Denver Zoo.
The zoo is very excited about its expected 15 percent reduction in utility bills over this next year. In addition, the new program will also reduce the many heavy and expensive trips to the landfill they used to have to make in order to unload the tons of animal dung. In all, the Denver Zoo has calculated that it should be able to save about $200,000 a year, not to mention a rather large reduction in its carbon footprint.
Of the many Denver Zoo creatures donating to this very worthy cause, one of the star players would have to be its Asian elephants, Mimi and Dolly. These lovely ladies weighing in at about 10,000 and 7,500 lbs respectively each unloads no less than about 75 to 100 pounds of potential biomass each and everyday. This waste mater is then processed and turned into energy, as well as a portion packaged to bring to researchers at UC Denver, where they are in the process of creating a means for future water treatment plants to one day double as power plants.
The Future of Poo
Currently the packaged liquid dung offered to UC Denver is only able to produce just enough electricity to power a few strands of holiday lights, but the future of biomass holds a much more potent future than we may realize. Biomass could one day offer the world a source of energy independence we'd never thought possible!