Dog Poo Powers a Streetlight In Massachusetts Park
Park Spark via Fast Company
Good dog parents might think they’re doing their part by using biodegradable baggies to pick up after their pooches. But after Fido’s feces go in the trash can and to a landfill, they release methane gas, a significant contributor to the greenhouse effect. A dog park in Cambridge, Mass., has a solution: Add in a methane digester, and let your dog waste power the streetlights, tea cart and popcorn machine.
The Park Spark methane digester, unveiled this week, only powers a streetlight for now — no poop-powered popcorn yet. But it’s a neat concept: Replace trash cans with a public methane digester, and you demonstrate how simple it can be to turn waste into fuel.
“As long as people own pets in the city and throw away dog waste, the production of energy will be continuous and unlimited,” the project’s Web site says.
The project involves three basic steps: Throw your dog’s waste into the digester, where anaerobic bacteria are ready to break it down. Stir the mixture to help methane rise to the top, and burn the methane to generate light or electricity.
After picking up their dogs’ waste in biodegradable bags, visitors to the Park Spark digester can feed the waste through an above-ground tube, and stir it with a hand crank. The bacteria container is buried underground and the methane is piped through the ground to the streetlamp, which burns with an eternal flame. Eventually, the project leaders want to use dog-generated methane to power vendor carts selling human food.
Conceptual artist Matthew Mazzotta came up with the idea, which is partially funded by MIT.
Park Spark Project!
Anywhere people are walking dogs can be a source of heat and light by introducing a Methane Digester into the equation. As long as people are walking dogs and throwing away dog poo, a flame can burn.
The Park Spark Project is the transformation of dog waste (dog poo) into energy (methane) through a publicly fed methane digester as an interactive urban intervention that questions our current waste system, and at the same time creates an opportunity for others to participate in the (re)imaging of the byproduct energy (methane).
The Park Spark Project is a digester (see "HOW IT WORKS" section), which is mostly buried underground except for a tube and a hand-crank that is above ground, so that people can feed the digester and stir the mixture inside. The methane created is piped to gas burning lamppost and constantly burning like an ‘eternal flame’. This eternal flame will burn until someone or a group of people propose an idea to use the heat and light of the constantly burning flame and make a public project. (See "GET INVOLVED" section)
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