Gallery: NYU Student Proposes Street Lamps Powered by Dog Poop

Melody Kelemu, a student at NYU, wants to use the poop from the dogs of New York to power lamps in our parks. The idea dawned on the neuroscience and environmental studies student when she moved to New York from her native Ethiopia, where the lawns (and dog poop) in her neighborhood were maintained by gardeners. If awarded a grant from NYU, the dog poop convertors could power street lamps in Washington Square Park and others.

In New York, and most cities for that matter, we all try to be good dog owners, but there seems to be the one or two lazy people who turn the sidewalks into an obstacle course. Kelemu hopes the machines will provide an incentive for people to clean up after their dogs. Knowing that the waste will help provide power for New Yorkers to enjoy is inspiring and could spur even the laziest of dog owners.

Special biodegradable bags will be provided near the machines, which are methane digesters. Inside, the poop is digested by anaerobic bacteria, which releases methane which is then burned in a connected lamppost. Visitors to the park need not worry about a smell of burning feces- the digester tank is hermetically sealed.

Each day, the digester can process 200 dogs’ poop. The lamp can burn for an hour on the waste from just ten dogs, which is an easy task considering how many dogs there are in New York.

Should Kelemu be awarded a Green Grant from NYU’s Sustainability Task Force, the $20,000 will go to building the tanks (which she will do herself), and then further maintenance. The project would not only provide essentially free energy for New Yorker’s to all enjoy, but also encourage dog owners to clean up after their dogs.

Via DNA Info

Images ©Billa and ©Rasdourian

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1 Comment

  1. gmoke December 22, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    This is proven technology. There was a one month test in Cambridge, MA in 2010: http://www2.cambridgema.gov/CAC/Public/Park_Spark.cfm

    The artist, Matthew Mazzotta, seems to be taking it around the country:
    http://matthewmazzotta.com/section/184798_Park_Spark_Matthew_Mazzotta.html