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Friday, September 17, 2010

The Awesome Hidden Power of Dog Poop



Finally! A use for dog poop!

A way-cool invention called the Park Spark was unveiled last week in a Cambridge, Mass., dog park. The methane digester converts dog poop into energy, and that energy is now powering a gas-burning lamp at the park. Because of this, people can see where their dogs poop at night, and feed the machine, for a sort of never-ending flame. It’s kind of like an Olympic torch, only with more humble, odiferous roots.

Here’s how it works: Your dog poops. You scoop it with a specially made biodegradable bag, deposit it into a feeding tube, and turn a hand crank so methane rises to the top, and is available to be burned by whatever you connect to it. It’s that simple. You have made poop into light.

How amazing is that? The Park Spark is able to convert something that was not worthy of the bottom of your shoe into energy that can light up your night. And it prevents the greenhouse gas, methane, from doing environmental damage. The infographic below shows the contrast between scooping the poop, and making it into energy:


According to Fast Company, the Park Spark team can also envision dog poop being used to power portable tea stands, and popcorn (poopcorn?) stands. But it will never power large projects like lighting up an entire block. Poop is grand, but apparently it has its limitations.

The Park Spark in Cambridge wasn’t an underground number, but a couple of large yellow tanks above ground. Check it out below. 44690_156147797733954_129696893712378_560797_6176506_n


It’s brilliant to have a big, above-ground demo like this for people (like me) who would find it harder to imagine how dog doo can light up your life if the setup were below ground.

I hope the idea catches on, and that within a few years, any dog-filled park that doesn’t have a Park Spark will look like it’s stuck in the Dark Ages.

By: Maria Goodavage