I have often found myself thinking, “If someone found a way to turn pet poop into a fuel source, we’d solve our energy crisis,” and so have many other pet parents as well. While this idea is mostly a joke, one particular animal lover approached it from a realistic standpoint, and began applying science to this concept. The result is the Park Spark, a truly innovative technological breakthrough of the 21st century that turns dog poop into usable fuel! Yes, folks, this is absolutely true and NOT a prank, I promise.
While it’s a great thing that many parks and public areas have a poop bag dispenser handy, the accumulation of dog poop isn’t really dealt with – it just ends up at a landfill with all of the other trash. This extremely genius device could lessen the amount of dog poop that goes to landfills and dumps by burning it as a fuel, which is a huge deal! Think of all the dogs in the world, and how much poop they all create on a daily basis – that could probably power entire countries if harnessed properly.
So how does it work, you wonder? Well, the Park Spark is able to work its magic by using the collected feces that responsible pet owners drop inside of it after cleaning it up. When biodegradable organic matter is put inside a chamber deprived of oxygen, it produces methane, which can be burned as a fuel. By stirring the material inside of the chamber, the methane rises to the top and collects, where it can then be utilized in a multitude of ways – as cooking fuel, home heating, and even light! In the example that is used on the Park Spark Project’s official website, the energy can be used to power the lamp post at the park.
Currently, methane is the biggest offender right now in our global environmental crisis; it is the worst greenhouse gas that is accumulating in our atmosphere. The amount of dog poop (and other pets’ poop) that is disposed of on an annual basis is absolutely overwhelming, and most (if not all) of it goes into landfills. Once the poop is in landfills, it breaks down and releases the methane into the atmosphere, contributing to our crisis. To be able to collect this methane and burn it to use as fuel would be not only responsible and environmentally advantageous, but it would be useful and provide people with fuel who can’t afford it. Another amazing part of this is that when you burn methane, it separates into water and carbon dioxide – carbon dioxide is much less damaging to our atmosphere than methane is and plants will absorb it. So what exactly is the negative aspect of this brilliant idea?
While this project is still somewhat in its beginning stages, the rapid rate that technology is progressing gives me confidence and hope that this concept will develop into a life-changing global sensation. If it can be perfected, produced, and made accessible to all the places around the world, then we will be one step closer to living on a sustainable Earth! Not to mention, needy people will be provided with heating and fuel that they otherwise couldn’t afford, so the implications are huge. So, to all of the scientists out there reading this right now, check out the Park Spark Project and figure out how YOU can help change the world by powering it with poop!