Cats and dogs alone contribute to make nearly 10 million pounds of fecal matter a year which accounts for nearly 4% of all of our waste products at landfills. San Fransisco is the main city trying to make the jump to reuse all of its pet wastes. This is done by putting the feces into whats called a methane digester where it is exposed to a certain kind of bacteria that turns the feces into methane gas in about 2 weeks. There are a few cattle ranchers that have also picked up the technique saying its a lot cheaper to just reuse the poop. This “methane digest-er” is actually called an Anaerobic digester and it has been used in sewage treatment facilities for some time. This machine works by naturally biodegrading things in a chamber by extracting all of the oxygen from the chamber that forms a special bacteria that turns the feces into the same methane gas that runs your stove. San Francisco is making biodegradable “doggy” bags to puts in the parks along with biodegradable containers so that there would be less chances for spread of disease with human contact. A youngster somewhere in Canada has recently made a biodegradable “pooper scooper” to help with the clean up. They are saying in the near future that we could be heating our homes with dog poop along with running our lights and even possibly driving on pet fuel. This is such a huge problem because pet waste carries so many pathogens right now the only real safe thing to do with it is to through it in the dump because if you leave on the ground the pathogens will dissolve into the soil or be washed away into the streams so finding an alternative method than leaving feces in a plastic bag forever seems like a pretty good idea especially if you can make a profit off of pet poop.
1)Human Feces Powers Rwandan Prison
-by taking the inmates wastes and putting them in these biogas where the methane gases are abstracted and it is these very gases that cook the food that the prisoners have been eating. This new method has cut energy costs to the prison by 60% and this makes sense because the prison is ten times overcrowded.
2)This Green Life
-Talks on how San Francisco is one of the first to actually make a push to use pet feces as renewable energy. Also explains how the methane digest works. Talks of how biggest risk are pathogens from the fecal matter so biodegrade-able bags are starting to be put into the parks for the convenience of dog owners.
3) San Francisco Plans to Harness Power of Dog Poop
-San Francisco was named after St. Franci the Saint of the animals so it makes sense that this pet poop deal starts there. These methane digesters however have been around in Europe and parts of the United States for the past 20 years but they are not too popular being 1 million dollars each.
4)New Animal Control.Org
-this article touches on the glitches of the methane combuster. This will not work for all societies because a lot of societies don’t produce enough food and animal wastes to make it worth their while to use a methane combuster.
5)SF Going to the Dogs for a Little Energy
-Norcal trash hauling will be setting up a pilot with one of the larger dog parks in the area to see how successful this program is. Around this park will be biodegradable disposable baggies to pick up the pet waste. In Europe there are already 600 of these machines in use. So roughly 600 million dollars worth of technology just to get energy from poop. Amazing.
7)Experts Explore it’s Energy Potential
-San Fransisco is aiming to export no trash by the year 2020 and right now nearly four percent of that waste is animal feces. Some officials would like to see methane digesters in peoples homes however I’m not sure how hip to the idea of keeping all your fecal matter in a bucket to use for methane gas later would be to most people
8) Biomass and Biogas
-In landfills the natural gases that come from these fermenting organic matter need to be released otherwise there is a real risk of a serious explosion. So if you can get all the fecal matter out of the dump then you can cut down on the risk of exploding your landfill.
-This actually had to do with pig feces rather than pet because pigs are more commonly used in experiments. However the results were that of what one would hope to have for the pet feces to become methane gas for pig feces had high and fast yields of methane gas as well as ammonia.
Blake Ovali – roommate from San Fransisco where most of this is going on so he’s heard about more close hand