Climate Craziness of the Week: Poo Power from your dog

Bobko D writes in Tips and Notes

Anthony,
One of the more ridiculous schemes how to save the world – a candidate for your “Craziness of the week”, perhaps – is the POO POWER! project from Melbourne, Australia.

I am tempted to believe the guy who dreamed it up, Duncan Chew, must be playing a joke on our environmentalists – yet he is now laughing all the way to the bank, with this $45,000 grant from Australian Government green schemes:

I’m tempted to agree, especially when the guy can’t even get the flowchart sequence right, i.e. which came first, the dog or the poo? ;-)

This one’s a real stinker, even by green lunacy standards.  Next I envision they’ll try to make catbox powered homes…Read on…

MEDIA RELEASE (see http://www.poopower.com.au/our-story/45000-grant-to-poo-power.html )

Poo Power! is one of … recipients from Inspiring Australia’s ‘Unlocking Australia’s Potential’ program. The $45,000 grant has been awarded to the Yarra Energy Foundation to turn dog poo from parks in the City of Yarra into renewable energy.

There is over 1350 tonnes of dog waste to be disposed of every day in Australia… Using this un-tapped resource, Poo Power! will engage Australians in its science through utilising an anaerobic digester to process dog waste into biogas that can serve as a local renewable energy source.

Within the City of Yarra there are approximately 6078 dogs that generate over 750 tonnes of waste every year… This waste can be diverted into a local an anaerobic digester to generate more than 3800 litres of biogas that can be used for heating, lighting or electricity.

This small but important amount of biogas will be used in a City of Yarra park in an interactive public installation as a community meeting place for use by dog owners and other citizens.

“This project has the potential to be groundbreaking, a whole lot of fun and will deliver value to the citizens in the City of Yarra, which is why YEF is involved.” Alex Fearnside, CEO of the Yarra Energy Foundation.

This project was instigated by Duncan Chew … Project and Science Engagement Manager for the Poo Power! Project…”

Media enquiries:
Poo Power! – Duncan Chew | 0418 513 240 | duncan@greennation.com.au
Yarra Energy Foundation – Alex Fearnside | 0434 990 108 | alex.fearnside@yef.org.au
—–

“What is Poo Power? We’ve found a way to unleash the power in the 1,350 tonnes of dog poo produced each day in Australia….”
and
“…On average, a dog produces 0.34 kilograms (kg) of feces per day. Consequently, there is approximately 1,350.48 tonnes (t) of dog waste to be disposed of every day in Australia; 492,925 tonnes (t) per year.

Therefore we want to build an anaerobic methane digester to process the dog waste … to create a biogas that can serve as renewable energy source…”

(http://www.poopower.com.au/what-is-poo-power.html)

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119 thoughts on “Climate Craziness of the Week: Poo Power from your dog

  1. I think my hamster will do much better in any efficiency rating – his (or is it her?) energy is available directly, and usually available at night – even when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine

    Andi

    PS Being in NZ, how can I get an Aussie grant application?
    PPS There’s always the hamster-poo left over as well

  2. And it wasnt too long ago a “scientist/expert” in New Zealand said the family dog emitted more CO2 than a SUV and should be put down.

  3. All registered dog owners will be required to submit 340 grammes of dogpoo to their local council every day or face heavy fines.

    Another reason to resist registering your dog

  4. There better use for dog poo in Australia by using it as a means of political speech, for example.

  5. If it was that good an idea the world would be full of powerstations using human and farm animal waste. This kind of electricitty production has been known about for decades.

  6. I don’t want to pooh-pooh this noble initiative, but the City of Yarra is not a small area, and I imagine the fossil fuels used in carting canine faeces to the treatment centre will offset any supposed CO2 abatement from producing gas in the inner suburbs. Given that the massive Bass Strait gas fields are in Melbourne’s back yard , it seems like yet another inner-city Green project wasting taxpayers’ funds.

    A neat summary of the Bass Strait hydrocarbon deposits is found here

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&cad=rja&ved=0CG8QFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.spe.org%2Fjpt%2Fprint%2Farchives%2F2011%2F08%2F13BassStrait.pdf&ei=8rIwUIr7Gubj4QSvg4Ag&usg=AFQjCNHa_TVxR1kcQXV_r6_K4QDdId14zg&sig2=vcSKZB-tOyM3JB4RzIcQkA

  7. … and then we will get trucks running all over Australia to collect said poo and drive it to a central place, like the capital and dump it there.

  8. Just collecting a days doggie doos would take thousands of gallons of fuel but I think if they could shrink Australia to the size of the Isle of Wight then it has a chance of working. Oh dear I seem to be thinking like a Warmist! WIth similar logic. I know Julia Gillard will have the answer…….

  9. “I am tempted to believe the guy who dreamed it up, Duncan Chew, must be playing a joke on our environmentalists – yet he is now laughing all the way to the bank, ”

    Playing a joke and laughing on his way to the bank are not mutually exclusive. I wonder if I can work that scam on my (UK) government?

  10. A story from the time of Chairman Mao goes that there were too many rats, so citizens had to front up to depots once a week with X rat tails per head, if it can be expressed that way, to be paid a small sum. In a few days out of the starting blocks, there were companies breeding rats to supply tails the easy way. They were genuine companies, they gave you more than a rat’s arse.
    By coincidence, I know of a poopy farm or two not far from the City of Yarra. Anyone looking for a crappy investment?
    Anyone in another country looking to import crappy bureacrats & politicians? Cheap? With poo credits?

  11. Sorry to poo poo your scepticism guys, but the basic technology behind this idea has already been demonstrated. Essentially the idea is to extract methane from poo. This paper demonstrates over 70% methane recovery.

    http://www.iwaponline.com/wst/06504/wst065040604.htm

    ABSTRACT
    This paper demonstrates the potential for recovering dissolved methane from low temperature anaerobic processes treating domestic wastewater. In the absence of methane recovery, ca. 45% of the produced methane is released as a fugitive emission which results in a net carbon footprint of -0.47 kg CO2e m-3. A poly-di-methyl-siloxane (PDMS) membrane contactor was applied to support sweep gas desorption of dissolved methane using nitrogen. The dense membrane structure controlled gaseous mass transfer thus recovery was maximised at low liquid velocities. At the lowest liquid velocity, VL, of 0.0025 m s-1, 72% of the dissolved methane was recovered. A vacuum was also trialled as an alternative to sweep-gas operation. At vacuum pressures below 30 mbar, reasonable methane recovery was observed at an intermediate VL of 0.0056 m s-1. Results from this study demonstrate that dissolved methane recovery could increase net electrical production from low temperature anaerobic processes by ca. +0.043 kWhe m-3 and reduce the net carbon footprint to +0.01 kg CO2e m-3. However, further experimental work to optimise the gas-side hydrodynamics is required as well as validation of the long-term impacts of biofouling on process performance.

    “Where there’s muck, there’s brass”

  12. To put this in context, the City of Yarra is a local government area within greater Melbourne. It attracts the far left. It has areas of state government housing occupied by disadvantaged people and newly arrived “boat people”, so it’s an area ripe for exploitation by the left. Unlike some other areas populated by the chardonnay sipping, latte quaffing greenies, it’s not a rich area so its semi-coherent inhabitants tend to be more of the fluffy fringe of the green movement who haven’t yet worked out that they are just pawns in the grand plan. It is upwardly mobile in the sense that the greenies have their pavement dining made comfortable by gas burning patio heaters.

    Just my opinion, of course.

  13. If a dog poops out .34kg per day, and a kg is still 2.2 pounds, that equals .73lb or just short of 12 ounces of feces per day. Somewhere I read that the average human’s output is about 8oz per day, which I think is too low, but which, if true, brings up the question: What kinds of dogs are submitting their poops to this measurement? Does the average dog produce 50% more actual poop by weight than the average human? I think the output must be to some extent proportional to body weight, though I realize that different species and individuals have different metabolisms, diets, and other factors. Still, a second question remains: If the weight of the droppings is as wildly inaccurate as it appears to me to be, and if transportation of feces to processing sites has not been accurately factored into the process, how can the government justify this grant? Third question: At what stage of freshness is this dog manure useful? It would seem quite a burden for the humans who feed these dogs to have to collect their waste immediately upon extrusion; and yet, if one waits until the stuff gets dry and brittle, it might not have quite the oomph it needs for the stated purpose. Just some practical questions among many that might be asked . . .

  14. Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of global warming;
    That this foul deed shall smell above the earth : )

  15. Geoff Sherrington wrote:
    “A story from the time of Chairman Mao goes that there were too many rats, so citizens had to front up to depots once a week with X rat tails per head…”

    It ain’t no “story”.

    About the same time as “progressives” in America were getting all worked up about Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, the glorious people’s revolution in China declared war on sparrows (and rats).

    Four Pests Campaign

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Pests_Campaign

    The Great sparrow campaign also known as the Kill a sparrow campaign, and officially, the Four Pests campaign was one of the first actions taken in the Great Leap Forward from 1958 to 1962. The four pests to be eliminated were rats, flies, mosquitoes, and sparrows.[1] The extermination of the latter upset the ecological balance, and enabled crop-eating insects to proliferate.

    Campaign

    The campaign against the ‘Four Pests’ was initiated in 1958 as a hygiene campaign by Mao Zedong, who identified the need to exterminate mosquitoes, flies, rats, and sparrows. Sparrows – mainly the Eurasian Tree Sparrow[1][2] – were included on the list because they ate grain seeds, robbing the people of the fruits of their labour. The masses of China were mobilized to eradicate the birds, and citizens took to banging pots and pans or beating drums to scare the birds from landing, forcing them to fly until they fell from the sky in exhaustion. Sparrow nests were torn down, eggs were broken, and nestlings were killed.[1][3] Sparrows and other birds were shot down from the sky, resulting in the near-extinction of the birds in China.[4] Non-material rewards and recognition were offered to schools, work units and government agencies in accordance with the volume of pests they had killed.

    By April 1960, Chinese leaders realized that sparrows ate a large amount of insects, as well as grains.[3][2] Rather than being increased, rice yields after the campaign were substantially decreased.[1][2] Mao ordered the end of the campaign against sparrows, replacing them with bedbugs in the ongoing campaign against the Four Pests.[3] By this time, however, it was too late. With no sparrows to eat them, locust populations ballooned,[1] swarming the country and compounding the ecological problems already caused by the Great Leap Forward, including widespread deforestation and misuse of poisons and pesticides. Ecological imbalance is credited with exacerbating the Great Chinese Famine in which upwards of 30 million people died of starvation.

    Eliminating the last sparrow

    http://chineseposters.net/posters/e16-34.php

    Great Sparrow campaign 1957

    The Great Sparrow campaign documentary

  16. I wonder what the calorific value of their 5-dollar note is?

    I suspect 9,000 of them sent direct to an incinerator will be a more energy-efficient method of producing at least some useful power.

  17. It’s a conspiracy!

    I saw an advert for this on tv: Doggie Doo game

    “Around 15 years ago, toy inventors at Lund and Company Invention created a pooping dog game that made loud farting sounds as you squeezed the dog’s leash! Since most kids on the face of the earth find humor in all bodily functions, Lund was sure this pooping dog would be the next craze of the late 90’s. All they needed was to find the dog a master — a “toy industry expert” to adopt the concept and turn the dog into the next mega hit game!”

    They are brainwashing kids to be comfortable with dog muck so they will obey.

    /sarc

    Gnome said: “All registered dog owners will be required to submit 340 grammes of dogpoo to their local council every day or face heavy fines.”

    Is it okay if I put it in their letterbox?

    I was amused at the specious accuracy of the claim “Within the City of Yarra there are approximately 6078 dogs that generate over 750 tonnes of waste every year”. Why not just say over 6000 dogs?

  18. Brian Johnson uk says:
    August 19, 2012 at 2:48 am

    Just collecting a days doggie doos would take thousands of gallons of fuel….

    To make this workable, the poo would have to be picked up by the regular trash or recyclable truck and put in a separate compartment.

  19. Well, it may look like a joke, but according to this http://www.scienceinpublic.com.au/inspiringaus/inspiringvictoria#more-11357 it is indeed genuinely supported by Australian Government:

    “About the grants
    … A total of $5 million has been awarded across the country in three levels of grant categories…
    The prime objective of the program is to increase the engagement of Australians in science … Inspiring Australia is an initiative of the Australian Government.”
    And also:
    “Other grant recipients include:

    • Animations will be developed to communicate complex climate change science issues to the public ($39,000).

    • In the future, could dog poo power your BBQ? Melbourne man Duncan Chew has received a $45,000 Unlocking Australia’s Potential grant, to build and install a “digester” in a city park that will turn dog poo into a biogas.”

  20. mwhite says:
    August 19, 2012 at 2:39 am
    “If it was that good an idea the world would be full of powerstations using human and farm animal waste. This kind of electricitty production has been known about for decades.”

    My home state Lower Saxony is indeed full of biogas converters; and they were meant to process animal waste and plant leftovers, and subsidized greatly.

    Over time, the farmers found out that corn is a much better feedstock than manure.

    These days they run nearly exclusively on corn, and most of the fields around them are used to grow corn.

    This Australian guy is a little behind the curve, but if it helps him to attract taxpayer money…

  21. the obvious and immediate aussie rejoinders been made..
    Canberras known for more crap than any aussie dog.
    I protest this move to STEAL valuable nutrients from the dung beetles!
    environmental vandals starving the poor beetles!!
    I have Four very large hounds, and a horse.
    within a matter of days the dung beetles have stolen most of the poop hitting the gound here, the worms take their share and the chooks scatter the rest ecologically.
    the only poop I can collect for composting is the overnight chook shed deposits.
    fair enough suburban yards are chemically poisoned wasteland where few worms and beetle manage to survive, the smarter owners have ingound chemcompost doggy loos already..and I doubt the one or two poops a ay while out walking is going to fuel much of a digester..
    councils refused to handle it in garbage in years gone by citing possible health risks,
    how are they going to avoid that? this time? I wonder??
    and..
    what about the millions of foul cat craps? hell of a lot more cats than dogs in aus.

  22. This is amazing but it has given me an idea too ..
    If we could link up hamster wheels together think of the power that could be generated from those things whizzing around. I think I may put in a request to build the first ‘Green’ Hamster farm.

  23. “There are approximately 6078 dogs” – If they can count that accurately it’s hardly approximate!

    Actually this could be a more reliable and consistent source of energy than either wind or solar. I was going through the UK Renewable Energy Foundation site list of generators, and the ones using sewage or landfill gas had Annual Load Factors typically twice as good…

    http://www.ref.org.uk/roc-generators/index.php

  24. Anybody out there live close to an anaerobic digester?
    If thy build one close to this park, better check which way the wind is blowing before planning that picnic!

  25. As if the project culling the farting burping feral camels wasn’t embarrassing enough …
    Who was it had that idea of using the CO2 sequestering ability of urine? Hope that wasn’t here as well.
    Whatever next. My father told me: ” … they don’t advertise jobs for idiots.” He was wrong about that …
    The volumes look suspect for a start. Also, it seems to have escaped the attention of these confirmed anal-retentives, that dogs don’t crap (or baulk) on command. Also, (like their human counterparts) females tend to be a bit more discrete than males.
    I once helped to build a methane digester at a pig farm. Yes, it worked. Not sure whether it was cost-effective. Didn’t last long enough to find out. There was a leak, explosion, and everyone around got a free sample of the raw material.

  26. So I guess we should expect shortly to see brown collection bins on the Australian streets, alongside the black, green and blue ones.

  27. At the risk of being a lone voice in a wilderness of derision, in the UK most public parks have bins where dog owners are supposed to put their dogs shit (apart from a few twerps, most do). These bins get emptied about once a week. I’d assume that the bin content heads to landfill. So, diverting it to a digester isn’t quite as barmy as it seems. No additional CO2 or fuel required.

    However, most people collect the shit in little plastic bags to put it in the bins, don’t know what the digester would make of that…

  28. Another use would be to sun-dry the feces until hard, then use for shotgun target practice.

    Call it either a poop-shoot or a crap-shoot.

  29. “This small but important amount of biogas will be used in a City of Yarra park in an interactive public installation as a community meeting place for use by dog owners and other citizens.”

    Question: Who is going to want to go hang out next to this thing?

  30. Retrofit the municipal sewage treatment plant with an anaerobic digester and flush the dog poop down the toilets.

    Now send me my $45,000

  31. Yarra Council should immediately register every dog in the area. Dog owners should be issued with a small sealable bucket and be required to order bio-degradable doggie bags, in which all waste produced by the dog should be collected, from the Council at a sustainable charge. The containers should be weighed and emptied on a weekly basis. An owner whose bucket is lighter than normal has clearly allowed his dog to foul a public space, spreading excess Carbon into the atmosphere and will be required to purchase carbon credits and also be fined up to A$1000.00 for each offence. Any owner whose bucket is heavier than expected will recieve an illuminated scroll detailing his public-spiritedness and will be included on a monthly roll of honour to be published in the Council news letter.

    Just in case, /sarc.

  32. Within the City of Yarra there are approximately 6078 dogs that generate over 750 tonnes of waste every year… This waste can be diverted into a local an anaerobic digester to generate more than 3800 litres of biogas that can be used for heating, lighting or electricity.

    3800 litres per year? That’s certainly what that implies. And I checked, that is indeed the language in the original press release says.

    So at the current price of ~$100 $Aus/1000 cubic metres, that 3800 litres would net you a cool $0.38/yr. The Aussie government would get its (Aussie taxpayers that is) money back in roughly 118,000 yrs.

    OK, so let’s give ‘em a break and assume they meant 3800 L/day. That cuts their payback to a mere 335 years or so.

    Of course, with collection, transportation, capital and processing costs…

  33. rogerknights said
    “To make this workable, the poo would have to be picked up by the regular trash or recyclable truck and put in a separate compartment.”

    Well in the Surrey Hills UK we we told we had to separate paper and plastic bottles and that existed for years. Now we are told we have to include paper and plastic in the same bin! I suspect that the majority is just burnt/tipped/buried.

    How much recycling is actually recycled?

  34. I’m tempted to agree, especially when the guy can’t even get the flowchart sequence right, i.e. which came first, the dog or the poo? ;-)

    My dog eats cat poop. I’m not sure which has a higher potential Methane content, dog probably are fed more fiber, cats likely don’t digest plant materials as well as dogs. Need $$$ for study.

    Within the City of Yarra there are approximately 6078 dogs that generate over 750 tonnes of waste every year … This waste can be diverted into a local an anaerobic digester to generate more than 3800 litres of biogas that can be used for heating, lighting or electricity.

    My vote is to provide electricity for an electric vehicle to bring raw poop and dispose of the digested effluent. Lessee, we Americans have no idea what to do with a liter of methane other than explode it in the back yard. We deal in hundreds of cubic feet:

    $ units
    2438 units, 71 prefixes, 32 nonlinear units
    
    You have: 3800 liter
    You want: 100 feet^3
            * 1.3419573
            / 0.74518017
    

    1 1/3 100 cu ft. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasoline_gallon_equivalent , I should have just stuck with liters:

    A gallon of gasoline is equivalent to:

    Compressed natural gas (CNG) = 126.67 cu ft (3.587 m3) at 900 BTU/cu ft

    (I think this really refers to natural gas compressed to 1 bar).

    So 3,800 liters of biogas (I assume nearly all methane and no water) is a bit more than a gallon of gasoline. I should’ve stuck with liters, call it 4 liters. Per year. About 1 liter of gasoline per year per $10,000 investment. Capital idea!

  35. David Ross says:
    August 19, 2012 at 3:38 am

    Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of global warming;
    That this foul deed shall smell above the earth : )
    ____________________________

    For it’s doggie do this and doggie do that and “chuck it down the chute”
    but it’s savior of the country when we turn it into loot…

  36. I am battling with my town supervisors to get them off TDC and to build an anaerobic biodigester, so some of us have looked more or less deeply into the economies of such. We have about 100 head of cattle and likely as many other large barnyard animals, a dwindling farming economy and ~1000 humans waste from which to benefit. If we carefully loaded our entire waste stream, even straw and stalk, then we can juust make economic amounts of fuel gas, enough to run the digester and not use power from off Island.

  37. Well done Luther!

    Yesterday I noticed a tourist’s personalized auto license plate, WU CHI, ‘embrace power’ if i remember my pidgin.

  38. A few points. In Australia most responsible dog owners in the inner city pick up their dog’s poo and dispose of it in containers in the park, so the cost of collecting it is effectively nil.

    It’s not a unique idea. It’s already happening in Cambridge MA http://parksparkproject.com/artwork/1591007.html

    And in Arizona:

    https://asunews.asu.edu/20120501_dogpark

    And looks like getting off the ground in the UK:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2137773/Puppy-power-Dog-mess-turned-electricity-pioneering-scheme.html

    As others have noted, the concept is hardly new but the application to dog poo in parks is a neat way of making use of doggy waste.

  39. OK, this is not a bad idea as far as how to handle a waste product.
    BUT !!!
    To think (and claim) that you are going to save the planet and generate any appreciable amount of energy is just nonsense

  40. I can’t believe I’m treating this as a serious discussion. I guess it’s too early in the day too late in the week to muster adequate sarcastic response.

    Anon says:
    August 19, 2012 at 3:04 am

    Sorry to poo poo your scepticism guys, but the basic technology behind this idea has already been demonstrated. Essentially the idea is to extract methane from poo. This paper demonstrates over 70% methane recovery.

    http://www.iwaponline.com/wst/06504/wst065040604.htm

    Your reference describes a different goal. The 70% recovery refers to the amount of methane which would otherwise be released into the atmosphere from decomposing waste. They are concerned with reducing emissions of a greenhouse gas. That has nothing to do with whether enough methane is recovered to produce as much energy as would be consumed collecting the waste and transporting it to a collection/conversion station.

    An earlier commenter hit the key issue squarely on the head:
    mwhite says:
    August 19, 2012 at 2:39 am

    If it was that good an idea the world would be full of powerstations using human and farm animal waste. This kind of electricitty production has been known about for decades.

    [I'm going to take a wild guess here that mwhite does not review grant proposals for the "Unlocking Australia's Potential" initiative]

    There is surely more human than canine fecal waste in Yarra and much of it is probably aready collected through a public sewer system and processed in a central waste treatment facility. If methane from waste recovery makes sense, it makes the most sense at the central facility where much of the waste already goes. So, rather than give Mr. Chew $45,000 to create a new special-purpose poo-power contraption for the city parks, it would be vastly more sensible to simply collect the waste and dump it into the existing sewer/waste treatement system.

    Personally, I think worrying about methane release from dog waste decomposition is completely pointless. The total biomass of termites in the world is vastly greater than dogs and humans put together and their gut bacteria are prolific converters of cellulose to methane. Dog poo and cow farts are so far down on the scale of atmospheric methane release it’s laughable.

    I guess there are simply no stupid ideas when you are spending other people’s money.

  41. Steve Crook says:
    August 19, 2012 at 5:17 am

    “However, most people collect the shit in little plastic bags to put it in the bins”

    Some may “put it in the bins”, but there seems to be an ever increasing minority of peaple who tie these bags to all manner of objects. Many seem to be hanging from the lower branches of trees.

  42. Brian Johnson uk says:
    August 19, 2012 at 5:55 am
    “Well in the Surrey Hills UK we we told we had to separate paper and plastic bottles and that existed for years. Now we are told we have to include paper and plastic in the same bin! I suspect that the majority is just burnt/tipped/buried. ”

    When they request you to put plastic and paper in the normal bin this indicates that they have a waste incinerator. Paper and plastic are good fuels. Incinerators love plastic-rich waste.

  43. Some poo is more equal than others.

    Snowball … had worked out a complicated scheme for all the animals to drop their dung directly in the fields, at a different spot every day, to save the labour of cartage.
    [...]
    It had come to be accepted that the pigs, who were manifestly cleverer than the other animals, should decide all questions of farm policy, … But of all their controversies, none was so bitter as the one that took place over the windmill.
    [...]
    The whole farm was deeply divided on the subject of the windmill. Snowball did not deny that to build it would be a difficult business. … But he maintained that it could all be done in a year. And thereafter, he declared, so much labour would be saved that the animals would only need to work three days a week.
    [...]
    Napoleon announced that he had decided upon a new policy. … The needs of the windmill must override everything else, he said.
    [...]
    “No more delays, comrades!” cried Napoleon … “There is work to be done. This very morning we begin … building the windmill, and we will build all through the winter, rain or shine. … Remember, comrades, there must be no alteration in our plans: they shall be carried out to the day. Forward, comrades! Long live the windmill! Long live Animal Farm!”
    [...]
    On Sunday mornings Squealer, holding down a long strip of paper with his trotter, would read out to them lists of figures proving that the production of every class of foodstuff had increased by two hundred per cent, three hundred per cent, or five hundred per cent, as the case might be
    [...]
    The windmill had been successfully completed at last, … The windmill, however, had not after all been used for generating electrical power. It was used for milling corn, … The animals were hard at work building yet another windmill; … But the luxuries of which Snowball had once taught the animals to dream, the stalls with electric light and hot and cold water, and the three-day week, were no longer talked about. Napoleon had denounced such ideas as contrary to the spirit of Animalism. The truest happiness, he said, lay in working hard and living frugally.

    George Orwell, Animal Farm

    If you want a picture of the future, imagine a bootcarbon footprint stamping on a human face — for ever.

    George Orwell, 1984

  44. Reading about the endless schemes reported in WUWT gives me a funny feeling as if I’ve been transported back in time to 1970, reading the first issues of The Mother Earth News and The Whole Earth Catalog.

  45. Dogs seem to enjoy exercise such as going up ramps and there is an industry directed at providing equipment for agility training.

    Various items such as the teeter-totter shown in the link above could be fitted with small generators and a large park with many activities could be a ‘power station’ of some magnitude. A variety of animals can be included. Anyone with a pencil, paper, and a slide rule is encouraged to push this idea to its limit. Please send me a 10% consultant’s fee.

    Injured animals can also participate. Most of the mechanical parts are already available:

    Cats could even work at it:

    Goats are good climbers, so pet goats could contribute by jumping onto appropriate equipment.

  46. Next thing you know they’ll be collecting human farts and using them for cooking gas. Soylent green, anyone?

  47. Sigh… I live in Melbourne, city of Green Party activism, David Karoly, home to Gergis et al’s flawed hockey stick paper … and now this! Sigh again …

  48. 2CH4 + 3O2 = 2CO2 + 2H2O
    So we burn the methane and get carbon dioxide and water vapour. I thought electricity generation by burning gas was evil?

  49. grumpyoldmanuk @ 5:47 am:

    All dogs are supposed to be registered in Victoria.

    Gosh, to think of where I could have put Shep’s poo, instead of burying it in the garden , as was my wont when living there! In Australia you can buy garden dog-poo recyclers anyway.

    The thought of filling a bucket had me LOL as we had a similar system in Gloucestershire for kitchen waste. We had very little as I composted anything suitable, so the rubbish collection people (coming only once per fortnight) ignored my occasional offerings. If I rang up the local council to mention the fact, we would find an entire truck arriving for our one little bin. They then proceeded to empty it straight into the rubbish collection section. I ceased to bother separating it after that.
    Unrecyclable rubbish, including old stock bones, went into the bin; vegetable remants into the compost bin…end of story. The council-supplied kitchen bin was used to store grass-seed, etc.

    What a subject for a rather cool, dull, wet Yorkshire Synday afternoon! No heatwave around here.

  50. If you’re going to do this,

    1) generate power from anaerobically digesting sludge from the local sewage treatment plant
    2) throw the dog poo in the toilet and flush

    Isn’t that a lot simpler?

  51. Luther Wu @ 7:14 a:

    They sound like the early editions of “Earth Garden” and “Grass Roots” in Australia. Even now they have their wacky moments and there are some fairly rabid Manmade Global Warmers/Climate Changers around on the EG website.

  52. “If it was that good an idea the world would be full of powerstations using human and farm animal waste. This kind of electricitty production has been known about for decades. ”

    Millions. Do you want a list? Anaerobic digesters (AD) is a standard process in WWTP and many processes in the world. Many combine making electricity very economically.

    Manure is an extreme health hazard. The reason you pampered little girls using computers (especially in California) is that you leave your messes for someone else to clean up. My yard seems to be a favorite spot. This is why I do not own a gun. The Sheriff has already told one neighbor I had the right to shot the dog. The problem is not the dog but irresponsible owners.

    AD work at temperatures that kill pathogen bacteria. The second reason is odor control. Animal waste processed with AD have little odor if the biogass is destroyed by either flaring or using the gas to heat a boiler or make electricity.

    When you smell bad odors from a waste process system, the cause is usually an aerobic process that is overloaded. When that happens you need electricity to pump oxygen into the system.

    Yes, it takes energy to treat animal waste. AD produces energy.

    Third, the nutrients in animal waste are a major source water and air pollution when it is just allowed to run off or blow away. Even if you are not concerned about nitrous oxide as a ghg, we make nitrogen fertilizer with natural gas. It takes energy to make fertilizer to grow our food. The ratio of N, P, K in the the organic fertilizer is perfect for many food and non-food applications.

    Do not try it in California, to many little girls.

    Aside from the millions of engineered AD systems, there are millions of simple AD for village scale applications. In fact there is a college professor in Australia, that promotes such uses in Southeast Asia.

    As far as cost goes, that is the standard cost to do feasibility study. Men and women with engineering degrees like to get paid for their time.

    The bottom line is that AD is a very good idea for reducing environmental impact and even producing electric power. The problem is that is not glamorous like wind and solar. If AD requires a strong stomach, because what goes in is not very nice.

    Unlike Alan I am a level 10 CD. The reason is that I am an engineer who has to consider environmental and industrial safety problems. If you have to worry about finding a dead worker face down in a manure pit (it happens), AGW is way down the list.

  53. Sigh. This is just like wind power or solar.

    They aren’t bad ideas in certain very limited circumstances.

    i.e. You could build, and I know of dairy barns that successfully have, a poo / methane digester, that supplies both power and light to the farm. Concept proved, it works.

    But that works because all the cows are in one place, and there is an automated poo handling system. (from the cow’s posterior to the digested poo’s placement in the (composted) manure spreader trailer it’s basically fully automated with minimal operator intervention)

    Once you spread the cows/dogs/whatever poo over 1000’s of acres it’s utterly pointless. What are you going to do, force people to A. Pick up ALL the poo B. Package it correctly C. (most importantly) bring it ( at what cost) to a central location…really?

    What morons fund these studies? 30 secs of thought and the back of envelope and I can tell you with very high degree of confidence it’s a stupid idea, and the amount I know about this can literally be summarized on the back of an envelope.

  54. @ Andi Cockroft: The hamster idea has merit. Extensive research in the U.S. indicates you will need at least one Bud Lite. Best of luck with the grant.

  55. CAGW has become a delusional obsession. Much as Cass Sunstein surmised. It is a shame Cass Sunstein himself has succumbed to group-think on virtually every issue.

  56. It’s a simple, logical thing (much like having a compost bin in your garden rather then putting your biodegradable stuff in the rubbish bag and then buying compost …..) It won’t save the world. But nor will putting your litter in a bin. Does that mean we drop our litter on the streets?

    Of course, those who want us in thrall of big oil and coal don’t like it. Can’t think why.

  57. As has been mentioned previously, this is an established method of treating solids in a municipal wastewater treatment plant. So the suggestion of putting the stuff in the sewer is not a bad one, Such methane generation usually provides on the order of what it takes to power the wastewater plant, but not usually much surplus if any.

    In some large landfills, the methane is collected from the rotting garbage and used to generate electricity.

    So the best place to put the stuff is into one of the existing waste streams and not create a new process.

  58. Black soldier fly larva biologically convert manure (even canine) without odor & are a fowl’s favorite food. Do-it-yourself rigs can be set up for one home or a neighborhood group project.
    The larvae crawl a little bit away instinctively for separation. They, unlike the manure, are no bio-hazard if want to send to a central site for end use.
    Government central planners can mandate chickens eat x% black soldier fly larvae. This will free up more corn for subsidized ethanol production so the family farm will be saved from itself. The mobsters will happily move into the hauling business and it will be a business you did not build, but “it would be a shame if something happened to it.”

  59. Well, one can be a doggy do-do deputy to make sure doggies to their doggy do-do duty down under dutifully.

  60. Forget “poo” power energy from dogs!
    America could corner the World’s energy market using the powerful “poo” coming out of our Politicians.

  61. “They aren’t bad ideas in certain very limited circumstances. ”

    So you are saying that it is a good idea under the right circumstances. Nobody would ever pay Fred to do ‘back of an envelope calculation’. I have done such calculations after a fifteen minute conversation with a customer. This led to a $50k contract for feasibility study. My back of the envelope was correct to two significant figures.

    “Once you spread the cows/dogs/whatever poo over 1000′s of acres it’s utterly pointless ”

    How irresponsible is that? Maybe Fred thinks we spread spread coal ash or spent nuclear fuel around. I can do a back of the ‘back of an envelope calculation’ showing it is safer than manure.

    Fred thinks it is okay to spread dog sh** where children play. Just because everybody does something does not make it a stupid idea.

  62. “yet he is now laughing all the way to the bank, with this $45,000 grant from Australian Government green schemes:”

    And here I thought, Aussies were smarter than us Yanks… ;)
    To Aussies credit, their not funding a $18 Billion per year national space program that is concentrating on non-space political activism.

  63. Luther Wu says:
    August 19, 2012 at 7:14 am
    Reading about the endless schemes reported in WUWT gives me a funny feeling as if I’ve been transported back in time to 1970, reading the first issues of The Mother Earth News and The Whole Earth Catalog.

    Luther,

    I had the same sense of deja poo…. all over again!
    MtK

  64. sounds like a reasonable thing to me. $45,000 will pay a researcher about 3 months (at full economic cost) to spend some time investigating what to do with a load of dog excrement. if it produces some methane on the side then bonus.

  65. @Fred. here in the UK, responsible people pick up their dog’s excrement anyway. it gets put in special bins. that’s partly to stop children going blind, but also because we just don’t want dog shit all over our parks. what to do with it? bury it? burn it? turn it into methane? surely worth a little grant to have a look?

  66. This risky excreta schema might just work, if all of the dogs were coon hounds. My experience with redbone or blue tick coon hounds is that 5 pounds of dog food input produces 10 pounds of dog doo output. It seems to violate the basics of conservation of mass and energy…. but there it is!

  67. @Alan Watt, CD (Certified Denialist), Level 7

    I disagree

    The paper describes a method to extract almost pure methane from an effluent stream by separating CO2 & CH4 using PDMS membrane contactors. The process delivers CH4 recovery rates of over 70% at a purity suitable for use in the national grid.

    Using dog poo is just another source of effluent.

    My question would be “how much water is required to turn the dog poo into something suitable for an anaerobic digester?”

  68. As others have noted doggie doos are like wind power, a low density energy source because the cost of collection in monetary and CO2 terms would reduce the effectiveness to a stunt, which I’m sure is all that is intended.
    Might I suggest a way in which it could be made to work for real? It is clear and has been for sometime that there is an exact analogue for dog poo and it exists in unimaginably large quantities between the ears of people like Al Gore, Hanson and many others. It is not known quite what it’s purpose is but it has been suggested that it in some way acts as a substitute for the brain in these people.
    My plan is that it could be tapped like a rubber tree into a container strapped to the forehead of the donor and I feel sure it would provide enough green carbon free energy to keep Al and the others carbon neutral.
    All I require is modest funding for a pilot scheme 100,000 (any of the major currencies acceptable) for starters. As UEA CRU is only about 5 miles away from here, I think I’ll start there. My guess is that the mother-lode resides at Penn State however.
    For those that think that having poo dripping out of his head into a dish would make Al or Jim seem undignified I would say this………Nah.
    sarc

  69. I can see it now….Next year’s hot new hybrid car will have a toilet bowl as the driver’s seat….

  70. I think we should all help our brothers and sisters of the City of Yarra, to solve their energy problem. Please mail your dog and cat scat to the City of Yarra. GK

  71. Dog poo has (or at least had) a use: tanning leather. The best leather is still, I think, tanned this way.
    Those with a biblical frame of mind might like to look up Acts 10:6 “He lPeter] is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.” not to be understood as prime beach front real estate, but simply that the noxious smell, at least some of the time, got blown out to sea.

    I got an A* in irrelevance at school.

  72. More than sixty years ago it was common practice for city sewage works to collect their bio gas and use this to run heaters for their digesters. Heating sped the digestion process and saved on capital outlays for additional digesters. In those days I never heard of any municipality selling surplus gas nor of surpluses having to be flamed off so the production potential might be fairly limited.

  73. Andy Mayhew:

    At August 19, 2012 at 9:57 am you say

    It’s a simple, logical thing (much like having a compost bin in your garden rather then putting your biodegradable stuff in the rubbish bag and then buying compost …..) It won’t save the world. But nor will putting your litter in a bin. Does that mean we drop our litter on the streets?

    Of course, those who want us in thrall of big oil and coal don’t like it. Can’t think why.

    Oh! Well, I can tell you why. It is because they have more than two operating brain cells.

    Richard

    • @ Andy Mayhew. One of the biggest problems in the developed {HA!) world for local councils is people who drop their litter in the streets. Processing excretae from wherever is in the greater scheme of things the equivalent of white-washing the windows in the event of a nuclear exchange – it gives the impression of doing something whilst being totally useless.

  74. Don’t see a problem here – good idea. What some of your readers may not know is that it is compulsory to bag your dog’s poo if performed on public space here in Australia. People then deposit it in the nearest bin. Why not deposit it in a specially designed receptacle for energy instead?

    Cheers

    Michael

  75. @mwhite Yes, I’ve noticed it in Milton Keynes, and a pretty disgusting habit it is too. In one of the parks where there’s no bins, poo for the use of, people have taken to dropping the bags a short way from the path. So, as time passes, more people drop their bag where the other bags are, and you get a small cairn. Still disgusting..

  76. Funny but our local sewage treament plant has what is called Primary Treament since the plant was first built in the 1950’s, the generated methane is used to power most of the pumps in the plant, aerobic secondary treatment was added in the 1970’s.

  77. I solved the problem I had with dog poo by just tossing it in my neighbor’s yard. She lets her cat run loose and it uses my shrubs for spraying and the flower bed for poo and my truck for a perch. Poo-poo exchange? She has a “forward” bumper sticker so she must know all. She’s a school teacher but the neighbors call her the “hippie bitch”.

    Then I read this today:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2190086/Cat-parasite-worms-humans-brains-drive-victims-suicide.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

    Research shows cats cause a brain worm (ear wick?) that causes human madness or something to that effect. In an earlier comment someone said OZ had more cats than dogs. Maybe this is the cause of the people crazy enough to elect the mad public representatives they have. How many cats are in the UK? The USA? Should these people be screened from voting knowingly having brain worms that can lead to madness? Their voting record would be enough to warrant testing for mental capability. How does the university academics rate as to cat ownership. Perhaps that is a problem. Would a lobotomy solve the problems that some academics seem to have?

    Save the world and feed a cat to a dog. Maybe a greenie too. Wait, that could make the dog sick. Just don’t feed the greenie.

  78. My family had both inside dogs and a basement coal bin for several decades. I can freely attest that a safe means of disposal that extracts the stored energy of dog poo is to mix it with coal that is subsequently burnt for energy production.

    Has this now been determined to be a bad idea? You could always incorporate it into common charocoal briquettes. Slap “Green” on the label, and if anyone complains about grilling dogs with dog poo, or burning fuels period, just point out how you’re Saving The Earth by using a renewable fuel.

    (Now grilling a tofu dog, over charcoal or gas or at all, THAT is a crime against Nature!)

  79. Melbourne Resident
    This is the reason I am applying for Australian Citizenship, so that at the next election I can vote out the idiots we currently have masquerading as government and providing grants for stupid things.

  80. “750 tonnes of waste every year… This waste can be diverted into a local an anaerobic digester to generate more than 3800 litres of biogas..”

    Surely you must mean 3800 cubic metres! If it’s litres, the lights are going to be a dim as a city run on solar or windmills.

  81. “Anon says:
    August 19, 2012 at 10:59 am”

    Our mothballed desal plants would then have a purpose. Water for all!

  82. @eyesonu You read the Daily Mail? That was probably your mistake right there… They do have a habit of printing a health related story, and then about three months later printing something that flatly contradicts it. Though the cat poo/worm thing is (more or less) true, I do wonder how they’re going to make it seem to be a good thing. Possibly a cure for Altzheimers?

  83. mwhite says:

    If it was that good an idea the world would be full of powerstations using human and farm animal waste. This kind of electricitty production has been known about for decades.

    This actually is done at sewerage treatment plants and on some farms. However the results are typically to reduce the need for mains electricity (and gas) rather than sell these in any quantity.

  84. rogerknights says:

    To make this workable, the poo would have to be picked up by the regular trash or recyclable truck and put in a separate compartment.

    Might make more sense to have the “separate compartment” be an anaerobic digester. Though you’d want a petrol engined truck to start with.

  85. Ken Harvey says:

    More than sixty years ago it was common practice for city sewage works to collect their bio gas and use this to run heaters for their digesters. Heating sped the digestion process and saved on capital outlays for additional digesters.

    It also saves money on paying for gas to heat the water… The other alternative is CHP units which provide hot water and electricity.

  86. Rent seeking and Mannure go hand in hand.
    Climate consensus fanatics, eugenics and 911 truthers are in many ways the same.
    This dog poop guy has just figured a way, like Gore or Mann or Oxburgh, to make a buck off of the fear mongering.

  87. @Anon
    The issue here isn’t that it isn’t technically feasible to convert waste to methane. The issue is the absurdity of the proposal. This guy is proudly claiming that he can make 3800 liters (about 4 cubic meters) of methane from a year’s worth of dog crap. I’m sure he could, even if he could collect it all. But for chrissakes !!!! 4 CUBIC METERS … IN A YEAR !!!!!

    I work for an oil and gas company that produces gas for the transport and sale of LNG to Japan. We power about 25% of Tokyo’s needs. We produce and liquefy 30 MILLION cubic meters of gas PER DAY !!! Do you get the picture ?? 30 million every f$%&ing day !!! And this idiot is proud to come up with an idea that spends a year collecting and processing dog crap to deliver 4 in a year.

    And you wonder why people think that environmentalists aren’t living in the real world. Its because they aren’t.

  88. Kit P says: August 19, 2012 at 8:24 am
    The ratio of N, P, K in the organic fertilizer (in context, referring to processed Dog Poo) is perfect for many food and non-food applications.
    ******************************
    Alas, but….a minor quibble.

    Doggie Poo et al are low in Nitrogen. The intestines remove the nitrogen compounds because they are necessary for life. That leaves Doggie Poo a poor source for Nitrogen. The end point for Nitrogen in the body is that it is excreted in the urine. So, to be a more complete fertilizer you would have to add Dog Piss to the effluent stream.

    Bird Poo, on the other hand is different and, at the risk of being stoned as a specie-ist, superior. Anyone who has had a Parakeet will know of what I speak. The dark part of Bird Poo is the excretion from the digestive tract. The white part, on the other hand, is their equivalent Bird Piss. Birds developed to conserve water and. frankly, Pissing is not very water efficient. Bat Poo also has a high Nitrogen content which makes Guano superior to Dog Poo et al as a fertilizer.

    So, to make the process efficient, I would suggest catheters and colostomy bags on dogs to harvest this valuable product. And maybe cats, although I doubt that theywould hold still for it.

    The mind boggles!

    (On occasion I have explained the superiority of Bird Poo over Horse Puckey (Manure). I might suggest that this is better not done during lunch. )

    Regards,
    Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin)

  89. Anon says:
    August 19, 2012 at 3:04 am

    Sorry to poo poo your scepticism guys….

    Anon, I totally agree that methane digestion is a valid technology.

    Drive-in movie theaters are also a valid and proven technology. The problem is the business model. Open a drive-in and you will lose all your money.

    The cost of collecting the doggie doo is the killer. Take a small area of ground with a high “deposit rate” like the 100m diameter oval where I walk the dogs 2-3 times a week. I rather doubt that the total gleanings from this area would keep an Olympic torch alight 24/7.

    Methane digesters are highly efficient at processing human waste because the collection infrastructure is already in place. For example when a digestor is attached to a sewage works, or a large building or factory. (The Capitol in Washington comes to mind as an excellent source.)

  90. To all those naysayers who mock the “approximate figure” of 6078 dogs in the district of Yarra:
    Well, of course that is an approximate figure. If he had meant it to be precise, he would have stated “6078.00 dogs”.

  91. Slightly off-topic (but maybe not).

    Back in the early 2000s when Europe was concerned about the U.S. unilaterally attacking Iraq, a curious phenomenon was noted in the German city of Dusseldorf. In those days, maybe still, there was no law against citizens escorting their dogs to city parks to relieve themselves of their burdens. One dawn, early morning dog walkers were amazed to discover small American flags displayed across the wide lawn of a local park. As far as the eye could see, each of the little clumps of doggy-doo leftover from the previous evening’s walks had been adorned with a tiny American flag, the kind used in displays of cocktail party snacks. Each flag was one inch tall by an inch and a half across, glued to a little toothpick. There were hundreds of them.

    The local police were unable to discover who had set these out and why, but the practice quickly caught on, and parks throughout the region were later visited in the same way. No one was ever caught. It being Germany, there were a lot of little clumps requiring such adornment.

    This remains one of my fondest memories of the George W. Bush Administration. The picture remains in my mind, and I laugh each time I remember it.

  92. Steve Tabor says:
    August 20, 2012 at 3:31 pm
    ==============

    I seem to miss your point if there was one.

  93. @Steamboat Jack

    I love it, a reasonable argument. Just wrong.

    “Doggie Poo et al are low in Nitrogen. ”

    Maybe so but in an AD, you are growing bacteria which are very high in nitrogen while removing the carbon to biogas as CO2 and CH4. You are correct that bird droppings are very hot or high in nitorgen. More fertilizer less biogas.

    So you have to know you stuff. It sounds like Steamboat Jack does not know stuff from shinola. Not exactly how us old navy guys would put.

    A report on a dairy farm AD reported way too much biogas for the number of cows. Shredded paper was used for bedding.

    The point here is there are all kinds of solutions if you look for them.

  94. Kit P@7:27 says: ““Doggie Poo et al are low in Nitrogen. ”

    Maybe so but in an AD, you are growing bacteria which are very high in nitrogen while removing the carbon to biogas as CO2 and CH4. You are correct that bird droppings are very hot or high in nitorgen. More fertilizer less biogas. ”

    So if you put nitrogen-deficient dog feces into an anaerobic digester, brewing up a batch of nitrogen-rich bacteria, whence comes the nitrogen? It has to come from somewhere.

  95. I think we just found a way to power those ocean-water atmospheric-pumping ships. Just man the ships with 2,000 dogs and you’ve got free energy!!!

    (I’m not a real atmospheric climate scientists, didn’t go to Harvard or UVa, so, my numbers of dogs per poo per cloud may be a bit off)

  96. Aside from the comical value of this post. Even if there were some end use, wouldn’t it be far more efficient to put dog waste down the already existing sewarge system that runs on water+gravity and collect the sludge all in one place, ie the sewerage works?

  97. Electricity generation from sewage waste and the creation of ‘biogas’ which can be injected into the national gas grid is widespread in the UK – and increasing.

    See here for example – plans to produce 20% of the electricity the company use from the waste they process.

    http://www.thameswater.co.uk/about-us/10950.htm

    In Exeter UK they have been using AD on sewage to produce gas since 1895 – in 1900 they ran the street lights off it!

    2 million homes in northern India use AD from what their cowsheds produce to supply their cooking gas.

    If you’ve got to process the poo or manure anyway, why not get electric and gas out of it? Not all renewable energy is a waste of space….

  98. Wait, wait! 1,500,000 pounds of poo makes ONLY 3800 L of methane? That’s only 6 pounds of gas. A yield of 0.0004%. It’s not worth even thinking about.

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