Ideas: The Scoop on Poop

Everybody gets so much information all day long
that they lose their common sense.
~ Gertrude Stein

Some ideas and scientific discoveries from around the internet concerning, well, shit… So here it is, the 411 on #2, coming straight at ya from the cloaca:

Will we switch to gas made from human waste?

The UK has to ensure that, by 2020, 15% of the energy it produces comes from renewable sources. This, combined with government plans to reward those who pursue this route sooner rather than later, has led to a surge in interest in deriving power from the euphemistically termed “sewage waste”.

A 2009 paper by the National Grid said with the “right government policies in place, renewable gas could meet up to 50% of the UK’s residential demand for gas” but admitted this would not be easy. [….]

The government’s Renewable Energy Strategy says “12% of our heat could come from sustainable biomass, biogas, solar and heat pumps, supplying the equivalent of four million households with their current heating demands”.

But it also warned that this could potentially lead to an increase in household electricity and gas bills.

And that could be of more concern to consumers than a bit of squeamishness.

(via BBC News .)

UK Prepares to Use Human Poop to Power Homes | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World.

We talk about poop all the time — pig poop, cow poop and chicken poop — so why not start talking about our own? This stinky taboo might be keeping us from a great energy source. Scientists in the UK are looking into creating a closed loop system using human waste that would provide electricity to the grid. Seems like a great idea to us, but the question is: would you use poop to power your home?

(via Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World .)

POOPTRICITY: Want Electricity? Flush Your Turbine Toilet! | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World

What if every time that you flushed your toilet you could generate just a little bit of power? That is the idea behind the Benkatine Turbine by Leviathan Energy, which aims to get power from any pipe that water rushes through. So not only could you install this within a municipal system, but according to the company, you could get power from the water rushing down your gutter drains!

(via Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World.)


Who Knew? Whale Poo is Fertilizing the Oceans: “Australian scientists have discovered that whale poo is not only helping ocean plant life to flourish, but also increasing the ocean’s ability to absorb CO2.

Because whales’ diets are made up largely of iron-rich krill (small crustaceans), their droppings are a great fertilizer for marine plants, helping them to grow like weeds (or algae).  These plants then do their part by absorbing CO2 as they grow, a process that scientists have tried to amp up (unsuccessfully) in Antarctic waters with iron fertilization.

Researchers say one-third of the world’s oceans are low in iron.  On the other hand, whale excrement contains a very high concentration of the mineral — about 10 million times the concentration in Antarctic seawater.  But how will scientists use this information?  That’s not clear yet, but it’s a great reminder of how intricately well-tuned nature can be.


Meet the Genetically Engineered Pig With Earth-Friendly Poop

Canada has approved for limited production a genetically engineered, environmentally friendly pig.

The “Enviropig” has been genetically modified in such a manner that its urine and feces contain almost 65 percent less phosphorus than usual. That could be good news for lakes, rivers, and ocean deltas, where phosphorous from animal waste can play a role in causing algal blooms. These outbursts of algae rapidly deplete the water’s oxygen, creating vast dead zones for fish and other aquatic life.

(via Discover Magazine.)

GE Puts Quarter-Million Cows to Work in Chinese Biogas Plant: “In an effort to help ease China’s energy shortage and put tons of biowaste to good use, a 250,000-head cow farm in north eastern China will use animal dung to power four GE Jenbacher biogas engines and produce an estimated 38,000 MWh a year.”

(Via Stories / Popular.)

Japanese Company Turns Diapers Into Energy Source: “‘A Japanese company called Super Faith has developed a new machine that turns used adult diapers into a clean fuel source in about 24 hours. You simply place the bag of dirty diapers in the machine, and once set it motion it pulverizes, sanitizes and dries the material in the diapers and then forms it into small pellets that contain 5000 kcal of heat per kilogram and are meant to be used in biomass heating and electricity systems. Super Faith has reportedly installed two SFD systems at a hospital in Tokyo’s Machida area. Each is capable of turning 700 pounds of used diapers — and everything they hold — into fuel every day.'”

(via Slashdot.)

The great nappy debate: “Ethical Consumer’s Dan Welch asks whether parents should ditch the eco-angst this Real Nappy Week

It’s Real Nappy Week this week, when parents are encouraged to ditch the disposable and do the green thing by choosing reusable nappies. I’m co-editor of Ethical Consumer magazine, and Billy – my four-week-old baby – hasn’t seen a ‘real nappy’ in his life. He seems unconcerned. But should I be hanging my head in eco-shame?

In 2005, the UK government published research claiming that it was no more environmentally friendly to use reusable nappies than disposables. There was uproar from the promoters of real nappies. And no doubt secret sighs of relief from many environmentally anxious new parents. To the applause of the real nappy-istas, and a collective groan from those same parents, a 2008 government report re-assessed the figures and reversed that conclusion.

The great nappy debate has become one of the most publicly contested of all environmental lifestyle choices. And the cause of not inconsiderable private eco-angst….”

(via The Guardian.)

Bugs will give us free power while cleaning our sewage: “Anammox bacteria don’t need the energy-hungry oxygen supply of conventional sewage plants, and even produce methane that we can use as fuel”

(via New Scientist.)


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