A new project in Cambridge, MA dubbed the “Park Spark” has dogs powering the street lights in their own dog parks. Designed by Matthew Mazzotta, a visual artist with a degree from MIT, the project uses dog poop from the park to produce methane, which is then burned to light the park at night. The project was funded through the Massachusetts Institute for Technology and a partnership with the City of Cambridge, and it will hopefully spark a dog poo-fueled revolution of biogas-powered parks across the country.

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Ever wonder what happens to all of those dog droppings deposited into public trash cans? The “waste” sits in the trashcan and continues to give off methane.  When the trash is picked up, the dog waste is sorted out and sent to the appropriate cleaning facility—where it continues to give off methane.

Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gasses — it’s 23 times as detrimental to our atmosphere as CO2 — yet it is often not in the public dialogue. In the US, places from UNH to Half Moon Bay are using large-scale methane collection from landfills to create energy. Mazzotta’s wonderful creation has transformed a wasted resource into an easy way to light up the night in Cambridge. From Mazzota’s site:

“The Park Spark Project is the transformation of dog waste (dog poo) into energy (methane) through a publicly fed methane digester as an interactive urban intervention that questions our current waste system, and at the same time creates an opportunity for others to participate in the (re)imaging of the byproduct energy (methane).”

Check out Mazzotta’s site for some other great projects including some wandering homes, a project focused on making tea from local plants, and some nice mobile structures that critique and make use of poorly designed urban environments.

+ Park Spark

+ Matthew Mazzotta