Published on July 5th, 2013 | by Jo Borrás5
Poop-mobiles — New Form Of Transport?
Editor’s Note: Initially, I passed this story up, but when I saw Jo Borras cover it, how could I resist? Learn more about Spain’s poop-mobile below (but note that this isn’t the first group to consider using poop as fuel).
Would you drive a poop-mobile? It seems like the people of Spain would! In a bid to reduce the country’s dependence on imported oil, Spanish energy company All-gas is spending over $15 million to research algae-based biofuel. More to the point: Spain is spending over $15 million to research biofuel sourced from the algae that grows in sewers. You know — on poop.
Your poop. My poop. The theory being that we’ll never run out of poop, because everyone poops. That kind of poop.
Spanish energy firm All-gas is setting up the first of its poop-powered biofuel factories in the town of Chiclana de la Frontera on the southwest tip of Spain, which uses the town’s poopy wastewater and the plentiful Spanish sunlight to grow algae. Said algae is then used to produce a form of bioethanol, according to news agency Reuters.
Poop as Fuel
While several people have made strides in turning algae into fuel, “Nobody has done the transformation from wastewater to biofuel, which is a sustainable approach,” said All-gas project director Frank Rogalla. All-gas expects it to be fully up and running by 2015, when it aims for 3,000 kg of algae on 10 hectares of land, roughly 10 football fields, to generate annual biofuel production worth 100,000 euros – that’s enough biofuel to run about 200 cars or 10 city garbage trucks for an entire year.
With Spain battling a record 27% unemployment rate and an economy packed with cash-strapped consumers, however, is the poop-mobile a savior, or is this just another example of large companies capitalizing on a resource that isn’t really theirs to begin with?
To put some more legalese on it, do you own your poop? Are you legally obligated to provide fuel – free of charge! – for the machines? Would poop become a protected recyclable under the same kind of anti-scavenging laws currently coming into play across the US? Was all that just another excuse for me to say poop in a news article? Poop? Let us know what you think, in the comments.