Poop-powered lighting planned for Arizona dog park

Last Fall, we took a quick look at the Park Spark Project, a public art and energy generation project in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that converted dog poop in the energy for park lights. Turns out we weren’t the only ones to take notice of this technology: former Gilbert, Arizona city councilwoman Linda Abbott also saw it, and started pushing for similar poop-powered lighting at the city’s renowned Cosmo Dog Park.

What better place, right? If you’ve spent any time at a dog park, you know there’s plenty of poop… most of which gets picked up in plastic shopping bags and dropped in the nearest garbage can. Officials in the Phoenix suburb liked Abbott’s idea, and students at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus in Mesa have been enlisted to help with designing the methane digester for the project through the ASU LightWorks initiative.

So, what will this entail for dog owners cleaning up after their pets? Not much more than usual: according to Earth 911, they “would clean up after their pet using park-supplied biodegradable bags and then drop the bags into the dog waste digester, instead of a trash can. They would turn the digester’s hand crank to stir the mixture, causing the methane to rise and fuel the street lamp.”

Digesters that simply break down dog wastes are available commercially… thought this would be a great idea for our own neighborhood dog park. But turning that poop in power? Brilliant!  Let us know what you think of this idea…


Image credit: justin at Flickr under a Creative Commons license