Zoo Wants to Turn Elephant Poop into Power

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(Reuters) – The Toronto Zoo has a solution to global warming: elephant dung.

Canada’s biggest zoo is inviting bids for a gasification plant that will turn its elephant, rhino and other large animal manure into clean electricity and heat.

“No other zoo in the world is doing this,” zoo conservation program head Dave Ireland said on Wednesday.

The zoo produces about 1,000 tonnes of manure and other organic waste each year. This will be fed into the biogas plant, to be built on land adjoining the zoo, where bacteria will munch through the waste and excrete methane gas.

Leftover heat will be piped to the zoo to warm buildings and animal pavilions. Ireland expects this to substantially reduce the zoo’s natural gas bill of C$1.4 million ($1.3 million) a year.

Zoo waste will make up only a portion of the fuel needed by the 3 to 5-megawatt biogas facility, which will generate enough heat and electricity to power 5,000 homes. The rest will come from organic waste from restaurants, grocery stores and other industrial sites in the area.

Reporting by Nicole Mordant and Allan Dowd in Vancouver; editing by Chris Wilson.

Article appearing courtesy Reuters

photo: yasuhisa

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Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.