Have you ever wondered what zoos do with all the poop their animals make? Well, how about turning it into renewable energy? That’s exactly what some zoos are planning to do!
How does it work?
The Toronto Zoo has teamed up with Zooshare to start using their poop to make energy. This type of energy is called biogas. If you remember back to our series on renewable energy, you know that this is energy made from organic matter, like plants, animals and even poop.
All of the animal poop from the zoo, along with food from the zoo goers and nearby grocery stores will go into a big machine that has special microorganisms to help break it down. As it does, it releases gas, which is then collected and cleaned up. From there, the gas can be turned into electricity, or renewable natural gas, which can be used to heat our homes and cook our food.
Keeping Poop out of landfills
If it wasn’t turned into energy, this food and poop might have ended up in our landfills, where it would not only take up a lot of space, but also be a big climate change problem. Organic matter releases gas no matter where it breaks down and those gases aren’t exactly good for the planet. They are greenhouse gases, and they go up into our atmosphere, causing our planet to warm up faster than it has in the past.
So biogas is a form of clean energy AND it reduces greenhouse gases coming from landfills – double win!
Energy of the future!
Zooshare and the Toronto Zoo are working hard to get this project up and running, but they aren’t the only ones. A similar project has been planned for the Detroit Zoo, and Tama Zoological Park in Tokyo is already in the biogas game. Hopefully this is something all zoos can do in the future.
Maybe one day your home could be powered by animal poop! Now, that’s an idea that certainly doesn’t stink!
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