September 22, 2010

Dog Poop Can Save the World!

Did you know that dog poop can provide power? No, not by tossing dry dog poop in the fireplace and lighting it. Gross! No, all you need is something called a Methane Digester. The way these work is surprisingly simple. You just throw dog poop (or ANY poop) into a container. You stir it into the mix and methane gas rises from it. And you can use that gas to create heat and light!

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, a guy named Matthew Mazzotta wondered, "Why not use the methane gas from dog poop to power a lamp in a city park?" Since dogs are ALREADY pooping in the park, it seemed like the perfect idea!

Mazzotta called this idea the Park Spark project. For it, he installed a Methane Digester above-ground (it’s underground in the diagram below). The Methane Digester has a tube and a hand-crank, so that people can feed poop into it and stir the mixture inside.
The methane captured by the Park Spark is then piped to a gas lamp…and ta-dah! Let there be light! Yes, it’s a poopy light, but so what? And what I like about this is that the dog poop doesn’t just end up in a landfill…or on my shoe! And now, here is a BBC news story about Park Spark. (It’s a radio broadcast with photos.)
The Park Spark website is here
Top photo from the good people at Sprinkle Brigade.

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