The biogas plant will use 3,000 tonnes of manure, the equivalent of what 15 pandas produce annually.
Photo Credit: Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

New plant at Toronto Zoo will use animal poop and garbage to generate electricity

Rhinos, pandas and many other animals from the Toronto Zoo will soon be contributing in their own special way to Ontario’s power supply. A new biogas plant to be built on zoo grounds in 2014 will combine 3,000 tonnes of manure and 14,000 tonnes of grocery waste to produce electricity, heat and fertilizer.

The waste mixture will be placed in an anaerobic digestion chamber where millions of bacteria will slowly break it down.

“This works basically like a concrete stomach”, says Daniel Bida, executive director of ZooShare, a non-profit renewable energy co-operative responsible for the project. “We take waste and we make energy out of it, and what’s left over in the end is a high-quality fertilizer product.”

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The waste mixture will be placed in an digestion chamber where bacteria will break it down. © ZooShare

The 500 kW plant will generate enough electricity for 250 homes per year. ZooShare Biogas Co-operative has recently signed a 20-year contract with the Ontario Power Authority.

Furthermore, emission reductions from the plant will be the equivalent of removing 2,100 cars off the road each year, says Bida.

From poo to power to profits

The plant, which will cost $ 5.4 million to build, will be completely financed through the sale of community bonds. ZooShare currently has over 120 co-operative members who have invested $460,000 so far. The bonds pay a 7% annual return.

Bida sees the project is something positive for the Toronto Zoo.

“They are already one of the leading conservation organizations in the world… We’re really excited to be working with them on this project,” he says.

ZooShare now has plans to expand the biogas plant concept to other zoos across North America.

Daniel Bida, executive director of ZooShare, talks to Gilda Salomone about the new biogas plant that will be built at the Toronto Zoo.

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External links:

Toronto Zoo

ZooShare

 ZooShare Presents: An Investment with Pootential

 

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2 comments on “New plant at Toronto Zoo will use animal poop and garbage to generate electricity
  1. Peter Ashcroft says:

    This is certainly promising news. Years ago EU dictats said that hotel food waste could not go to pig farms to be used as pigswill. More and more beneficial recycling schemes must be introduces worldwide. Increasing world population must cope with limited resources.

  2. Ralf Richter says:

    What a great idea! We need such projects in Europe too! Maybe some ZooShare-members go on a tour through Europe next year to present these initiative made in Toronto. Stations could be Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague … till St. Petersburg.

    Best greetings from Old Europe

    Ralf