Down To Earth

Dec 12, 2010 7:13 PM by Stephanie Collins

Powerful Poo; Denver Zoo using animal waste to create energy

The Denver Zoo has come up with a way to convert animal waste and trash from visitors, into energy.

"A gasifier actually takes fuel and makes energy, fuel in our case is actually going to be poo and trash," explains George Pond, Vice President for Planning and Capital Projects.

The waste comes from the animals at the Denver Zoo, over 4,000 of them and the trash from the two million people that visit every year, "Were going to take all of that and combine it together to make a fuel that we can extract energy," says Pond.

The gasifier will also save animals and habitats by diverting 90%, or one and a half million pounds, of landfill waste per year. The zoo hopes to be a zero waste facility by 2025.

Right now the zoo's gasifier is just a prototype, the real one will be ten times the size and have a capacity to run 6,000 pounds of waste through it every day. All of the energy made will be used to power the zoo, "It will be used to create a tremendous amount of hot water to heat building with, as well as energy which we'll put directly into our system to run some of the buildings," explains Pond.

When complete the gasifier will reside in the new Asian Tropics exhibit, along with some new animals. The gasifier and the new exhibit are expected to be finished by spring 2012.

The Denver Zoo still needs funding to build the full size gasifier, they are one of the December candidates for the Pepsi Refresh Project. If they end the month in the top two they could receive $250,000, but they need your vote, to help out click here.


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