We talk about poop all the time — pig poop, cow poop and chicken poop — so why not start talking about our own? This stinky taboo might be keeping us from a great energy source. Scientists in the UK are looking into creating a closed loop system using human waste that would provide electricity to the grid. Seems like a great idea to us, but the question is: would you use poop to power your home?
In some parts of the UK anaerobic digesters are already being used to generate electricity from human refuse, but this summer British Gas in a partnership with Thames Water and Scotia Gas Networks will start piping biomethane from the sewage system — which is derived from fecal matter — right back into the homes of 130 customers in Didcot in Oxfordshire. The new gas will take 23 days to complete its waste treatment cycle and when it enters homes will smell just like natural gas.
Using human waste for power is not a new idea. Marco Polo noticed that the Chinese used enclosed sewage tanks to generate power and bath water was said to be heated with biogas in Assyria in the 10th century BC. With populations on the rise and the issue of what to do with sewage becoming an ever present problem, why not bring it back around to electrify our houses? It’s completely renewable — as long as we keep eating — and could be a big part of the holy grail.
Via The BBC