The following is from the environmental themed advice column EarthTalk®, by the Editors of the non-profit publication E/The Environmental Magazine, that well be regularly featuring here on CLs Green Community.
Dear EarthTalk: Is there a way to utilize the energy in my dogs poop? I have three dogs and lots of poop and would like to dispose of it in a greener manner. — Mary C., Wallace, ID
No doubt creating a way to do so is possible, as large systems called anaerobic digesters (or biogas digesters) are often used in landfills to wring energy out of trash, as well as on some big farms and ranches where large amounts of cow manure provide plenty of feedstock. In such systems microbes generate methane gaswhich can be captured and used for poweronce they are set free on manure or trash. The economics of putting biogas digesters in landfills or big cattle operations can make the up-front expense tolerablemoney can be made or saved by selling or utilizing the resulting powerbut doing so in ones back yard might be a different story.
Not to say it cant be done: This past September artist Matthew Mazzotta, armed with a $4,000 grant from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)where he earned a master's degree in visual studies last yearcreated the ingenious Park Spark poop converter system that uses dog poop to power a gas lantern that illuminates a corner of the Pacific Street Dog Park in Cambridge, Massachusetts.