Zoo to use animal waste?
April 28, 2008 by Manure Manager
The Rosamond Gifford Zoo in
Syracuse, New York, is looking to become the first zoo in the United
States to be powered by its own animal waste— especially the large
amount of waste produced by its pachyderms.
The Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York, is looking to become the first zoo in the United States to be powered by its own animal waste— especially the large amount of waste produced by its pachyderms.
The zoo is studying how feasible it would be to switch to animal waste as an alternative energy source to reduce its $400,000 annual heating and electricity bill.
The zoo’s six elephants produce more than 1,000 pounds of dung per day, said Zoo Director Anne Baker.
“Zoos are about conservation and stemming the loss of animals and habitat,” Baker said. “But conservation is also about how people use natural resources. This is an opportunity to give visitors the whole picture.”
The zoo sends most of its animal waste to a local farm, where it is composted. The zoo spends about $10,000 a year on animal-waste disposal, but Baker noted it also requires the use of additional fossil fuels for transportation. “This would be just such a good idea on so many levels,” she said.
Baker said the idea of using animal waste for energy arose several years ago when she was talking to local officials about the potential for creating a more environmentally friendly and self-sustaining zoo.
Because the elephants eat mostly hay, they are the ideal waste producers for the project. Additionally, they are inefficient digesters, which makes their feces higher in energy content, she said.
Depending on the process, the zoo animal waste could be used to produce methane or hydrogen for powering a fuel cell or generator.
The study will start by evaluating the energy-producing potential of all the animals’ dung. Another important question is determining just how much animal waste the zoo produces.