Poop to Power ‘Round the World

Apparently, animal wastes are just inspiring, as there’s even more news of poop to power innovations from around the globe.

The process, called thermochemical conversion, uses heat and pressure to break down carbohydrate materials and turn waste into liquid. The project is still in its infancy.

For now, each half-gallon (two-liter) batch of manure converts to only about 9 ounces (0.26 liter) of oil.

But Zhang believes the conversion process could eventually solve the problem of pollution and odor at modern hog farms, where farmers pay big money to get rid of the waste. And, he says, pig oil could also offer an alternative to petroleum oil.

“If 50 percent of U.S. swine farms adopted this technology, we could see a [U.S.] 1.5-billion-dollar reduction in crude oil imports every year,” Zhang said. “And swine producers could see a 10 percent increase in their incomeβ€”about $10 to $15 per hog.”

The process also comes with a 1 to 3 input/output ratio. What the article doesn’t mention is the CO2 output of burning the oil that comes from the process. While still in its infancy, this is definitely a development we’ll want to watch. We definitely won’t ever have to worry about “peak poop…

The Kigali Institute of Science and Technology’s Center for Innovations and Technology Transfer (Kigali is the capital of Rwanda) designed and built a 150 cubic meters fixed dome digester in Cyangugu prison. The digester is fed human waste generated by 1500 prisoners and it produces 50% of the energy needed to cook for the 6000 to 10,000 inmates (the number vary depending on the source), cutting in half the Β£25,000 ($44,000) yearly firewood bill – a lot of money in Rwanda…

The Kigali Institute of Science and Technology has also built a smaller digester (25 cubic meters) for the LycΓ©e de Kigali, solving its sewerage and hygiene problem. “The methane gas produced is used to cook for 400 students and for operating bunsen burners in the school science laboratories…”

Five of the country’s largest prisons – two at Gitarama, and one each at Butare, Kigali and Cyangugu – now boast biogas plants, either in operation or under construction, and their effect has been dramatic. […]

As one of our readers commented some time back, “Go, poop, go!”

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