[permaculture] Zoo Power
dtv at mwt.net
Tue May 3 14:50:09 EDT 2005
(if you gotta have zoo's at least make use of what's right under yr
Answer to zoo's power needs may be right under their nose
Tuesday, May 3, 2005 Posted: 12:03 PM EDT (1603 GMT)
SYRACUSE, New York (AP) -- The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is looking to
become the first zoo in the nation to be powered by its own animal
waste -- particularly the prodigious piles produced by its pachyderms.
The zoo -- world prominent for its Asian elephant breeding program --
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
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 also is about how people use
natural resources. This is an opportunity to give visitors the whole
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.
Although other zoos have come up with creative ways to reuse their
elephant manure -- including using it to make stationery -- Rosamond
Gifford appears to be the first to propose using it for power,
according to Jane Ballentine, a spokeswoman for the American Zoo and
Baker said the idea of using animal waste for energy first arose
several years ago when she was talking to local officials about the
potential for creating a more environmentally friendly and
Because the elephants eat mostly hay, they are the ideal waste
producers for the project, Baker said. Additionally, they are
inefficient digesters, which makes their feces higher in energy
content, she said.
The zoo also will look at using the manure from its domestic farm
animals, its other hoof stock, such as its bison and caribou, and even
its lions and tigers, 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.
In the United States, a number of farms have used animal waste to
produce power, so the technology is available to apply at the zoo, said
John Fox of Homeland Energy Resources Development, a New York
City-based renewable energy developer assisting with the study.
But there are questions to be answered to know whether it can be
worthwhile, he said.
The study will start by evaluating the energy-producing potential of
all the animals' dung. Another important question, said Fox, is
determining just how much animal waste the zoo produces.
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