For the ethically minded dog owner, the waste a dog produces can be a concern. Most dog waste ends up in landfill, in fact it is thought to be around 100,000kg each year in Victoria, Australia alone.
When the waste decomposes in landfill it produces methane (CH4). Methane spends a much shorter amount of time in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2), but methane traps radiation more efficiently than carbon dioxide which makes the comparative impact of methane on climate change over 20 times greater than carbon dioxide, over a 100-year period.
To help combat this problem Duncan Chew has developed Poo Power!, a company trialling the use of anaerobic methane digesters to process dog waste into biogas.
The digesters are made up of three main parts, a cylinder where you drop the waste, a second where the gas is produced and a third where the final product is stored. They are still working on the final design but it could look similar to a rain water tank. Larger digesters could also be built to process more waste in high-volume areas.
The Poo Power! pilot site is in Yarra, Melbourne, Australia, where over 6000 dogs generate over 750 tonnes of waste each year. The pilot site will produces power for an interactive public installation in a City of Yarra park. In the future the digesters could be situated in dog parks around Australia and the renewable energy could be used to power lights in the area.
- Poo Power, 2012, Poo Power!: A New Breed of Superhero, Poo Power, 25 February 2013
- EPA, 2012, Methane Emissions, United States Environmental Protection Agency, 25 February 2013
- Gallagher, H, 2008, Dog Poo: What to Do, Northcote Leader, 25 February 2013
Image: Dog Park by Jim’s Photos1