Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica
Zoos in Toronto and Detroit are planning to use animal poop - of which they've got plenty - to create biogas for powering part of their operations.

Biomass

Want To Power A Zoo With Biogas? Use Animal Poo

Zoos in Toronto and Detroit are planning to use animal poop – of which they’ve got plenty – to create biogas for powering part of their operations.

Like farms and ranches, zoos have lots of animals, and, thus, lots of animal poop to handle. Only recently, though, have zoological park executives started to look at all of that waste as a source of energy. But, like their colleagues raising animals for meat and dairy, a handful of zoos around the world are delving into the world of poop power, which should not only save them money in the long run, but also make significant dents in their greenhouse gas emissions.

I published this post yesterday at sustainablog; if you’ve got thoughts, ideas, or even experience in this smelly business, share them in the comments.

How Zoos Are Using Animal Poop To Power Themselves

gorilla thinking about animal poop as a power source

Farmers and ranchers around the world have discovered a resource they often considered a nuisance: the waste from their animals. By building biogas production systems from the relatively simple to the very complex (and expensive), many agricultural operations now run – at least partially – on the animal poop they produce.

But farms aren’t the only source of such feedstock: as the Detroit Zoo notes, they have to dispose of 400 tons of animal waste each year. So, why not turn some of that poop into power? That’s what Detroit wants to do; the video below (from their Patronicity crowdfunding project) shows the potential benefits of sending that waste to an anaerobic digester rather than the dump:

Detroit isn’t the only zoo looking at its animal poop as a power source: Waste360 also points to the Toronto Zoo’s plans to build a much larger digester. According to writer Megan Greenwalt, “With more than 5,000 animals on-site, the zoo anticipates it can process about 3,000 tons of animal waste and 14,000 tons of food waste a year from a large Canadian grocery chain, creating 500 kilowatts of generating capacity and about 4 million kilowatts of output.” While Detroit appears to be working mostly in-house on its plans, Toronto has partnered not only with engineering firms to design the digester, but also with Zooshare Biogas Cooperative Inc. to raise funds for the project.

While these projects are first for North America, Detroit and Toronto aren’t the first zoos to get dollar signs in their eyes when they looked at those piles of poop. The Munich Zoo has been transforming tons of elephant poop not only into electricity, but also into heat used to warm the gorilla enclosure, for a number of years. And, of course, all of these institutions use the leftover organic matter as fertilizer for landscaping and animal habitat.

Maybe it won’t smell quite so bad next time you’re at the zoo… If you know of other zoos or similar institutions making use of those tons of poop it produces, share their stories with us.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Featured photo credit: Tyler Fox via Shutterstock

 
 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica member, supporter, or ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

New Podcast: How NVIDIA Is Bringing Autonomy To Automakers

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at

Comments

#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar energy, and battery news & analysis site in the world.

 

Support our work today!

Advertisement

Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports

Advertisement

EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats

Advertisement

Our Electric Car Driver Report

30 Electric Car Benefits

Tesla Model 3 Video

Renewable Energy 101 In Depth

solar power facts

Tesla News

EV Reviews

Home Efficiency

You May Also Like

Clean Power

A new gigascale green steel project in Sweden aims at sprinkling green hydrogen fairy dust on electric vehicles everywhere.

Batteries

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy recently launched the third and final phase of the Lithium-Ion Battery...

Carbon Pricing

Alberta's crude oil from steam-assisted gravity drainage has a carbon debt just for extraction and in province processing that's as large as the total...

Agriculture

In 2021, New York State must keep up the fight for a cleaner, healthier and more equitable future for all.

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.