Dallas Zoo to transform poop into
power: New biogas facility will transform dung into
Nov 2, 2007 - McClatchy-Tribune
Business News - Holly Yan - The Dallas Morning News
The Dallas Zoo could someday be powered
in part by Jenny and Keke's elephant poop.
Their dung -- which totals more than
300 pounds a day -- will be used to help create heating,
water and electric power at the zoo through a new
biogas facility, officials said.
"When you're in the zoo business, poo
and pee is our bread and butter," said Chuck Siegel,
the zoo's deputy director for animal management. "It's
really exciting that rather than taking this waste
material and just adding to a landfill or throwing
it out, we're able to use it for something positive.
The zoo first and foremost sees itself as not only
as a fun place for families, but as a conservation
It's not clear when the biogas facility
will become operational. Zoo officials hope that the
project's design phase will be complete next year.
Talks about the first phase of a waste-to-energy
project between the city of Dallas and Dallas-based
BDS Technologies started more than a year ago. Officials
discussed the virtues of the zoo animals' waste.
"Do we have enough waste? Is it good
enough waste?" said Doug Dykman, the zoo's deputy
director for operations.
Mr. Dykman said that the waste -- including
animal droppings and trash -- could help power several
buildings at the zoo and provide irrigation to the
The Environmental Protection Agency
awarded $10,000 to the Dallas Zoo's waste-to-energy
project. The entire project could cost $750,000 to
$1 million. But considering how much the zoo will
save by not hauling six tons of daily waste to a landfill
and by using in-house power, the project could pay
for itself within 10 years, Mr. Dykman said. He said
he hopes private support will also help pay for the
"Gasification from waste products is
not new. We're talking about taking that technology
and using it on a small scale," Mr. Dykman said.
Mr. Siegel added that zoo officials
will not be feeding the animals more in an attempt
to produce more power.