November 2, 2010

Guinea Pig Poop and "Caca-Cola"

Photo by ilovebutter
Guinea pigs are native to South America, where they are known as “cuy.” And down in Peru, there’s a town called Pachacama that runs on guinea pig power! Yes, when the people living nearby watch TV or cook or turn on the lights, it’s guinea pigs that make that happen.

Do thousands of guinea pigs running on little wheels generate the electricity?

Photo by David Masters
Nope. Their poop does all the work! Poop can generate its own power. See, the guinea pigs are kept on a ranch where they’re fed especially good food. Then someone collects their rich guinea pig poop.

How much poop can 1,000 guinea pigs make? Oh, about three tons every month! All this pig poop produces methane gas. The gas is trapped and stored in inner-tubes! (For more on this part of the process, see this dog-poop power story.)

The poop also produces a dark brown liquid plant fertilizer. I call it guinea pig diarrhea, but the locals call it “Caca Cola”. The following video is about the whole process.
WARNING: The British narrator matter-of-factly calls guinea pig poop “sh**”, so please don’t watch if that will offend you!
The complete story is at Wandering Gaia.

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No bad words, thanks!