Usually encounters with animal poop are one of the less-than-savory zoo experiences, but the Denver Zoo hopes to make fecal matter the star of its newest exhibit.
Denver Zoo staff incorporated patent-pending gasification technology into the design of a three-wheeled rickshaw called a tuk tuk. As their working protoype demonstrates, this "gasifier" sustainably turns animal poop and human trash into fuel that can be used to transport visitors through the Zoo's new 10-acre exhibit, Toyota Elephant Passage..
According to Zoo officials, the gasification system will convert more than 90 percent of the zoo's waste into usable energy, eliminating 1.5 million pounds of trash currently going to landfills annually.
This unique technology developed by the zoo, designed and built by three full-time staff, is under provisional patent protection and will be the first to utilize a diverse on-site waste stream, a breakthrough that could change how the world manages waste and creates energy.
To share this innovative solution with other zoos, the poo-powered tuk tuk went on a road tour. The crew stopped at zoos in Colorado Springs, Albuquerque and Phoenix before arriving at its final destination at the AZA Mid-year Meeting yesterday in Palm Desert, California.
The Denver Zoo expects to implement the full system in the Toyota Elephant Passage exhibit by the end of the year.
Image via Denver Zoo