The city of Waterloo, Ontario will soon be known for something very different. When most people think of Waterloo most of the time they remember that this city is the headquarters of BlackBerry. What is it you ask? Two words. Dog poop.
Yes, you heard that right. Dog poop. Soon Waterloo will become the testing ground for a pilot program that will turn dog poop into power. How is this even possible? How can we even turn excrement into energy? Well with a process called “anaerobic digestion”, poop will soon become a renewable energy source.
According to city mayor Dave Jaworsky this project will be the first of its kind that will be done in any Canadian city. He also jokingly called the program “poop power.”
Although turning dog poop into energy might sound gross to a lot of people it has plenty of benefits. First of all the project is eco-friendly. The project is also estimated to reduce the amount of dog excrement that the city produces in quite a large quantity.
According to Jaworsky the process for collecting and/or harvesting dog poop and converting it into energy is quite simple. He also states that this energy source is not an entirely new concept. A lot of rural communities actually use manure as an energy source. So in a way, the project brings together the urban and the rural.
But how can dog poop turn into energy? As mentioned before this happens through a process called “anaerobic digestion.” Anaerobic digestion is a process that happens when organic waste, in this case, dog poop, decomposes in an environment lacking in oxygen. But what does have to do with power?
Well, it’s actually quite a bit of a process. Here’s how it goes. A dog-owner throws their pet’s poop into a trash can with special dog waste receptacles. These bags of poop will then be kept in an underground container for about 14 days. After that, they will then be taken out and sent to a processing plant where it will be mixed in with other organic waste. Through the process of “anaerobic digestion”, we discussed earlier biogas will be created, which will then bused for heat and energy. If there are any leftover poop they can be used as fertilizer.
According to Jaworsky, the project might even extend to other cities in North America. Waterloo will test the project again for a year and if it is successful a large scale version of the project may come to fruition.