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The Biomethane Industry Is Booming

Topics: Clean & Green | Add A CommentBy admin | August 20, 2010

Toilet powered Volkswagens, dual fuel trucks, and refugee camps powered by porta-potties. If we could just get all the politicians that are in the pocket of big oil to pull their heads out of their rears, we could double our alternative energy resources.

This little baby gets about
143 MPT (miles per toilet)

When I was in grade school, I would – as I know many young boys probably still do – joke about how if we could just harness my friend’s seemingly never-ending compulsion to break wind, the world’s energy problems would be solved. As I grew older, this joke found new life in reference to the hot air of politicians who promote the myth of hope for America’s energy independence (see Robert Bryce’s Gusher of Lies. Well, at least the former is becoming a reality. We’ve talked before about reducing America’s carbon fatprint, the methane assprint of cows, and how people shouldn’t poopoo Norway’s buses, but there have been some interesting new developments in the world of human waste as fuel in recent months. The UK organic waste specialists GENeco, for instance, have developed a fully functioning Volkswagen Beetle that runs on human waste. Well, not directly on human waste; it runs on the methane produced during the sewage treatment process, but the developers claim it can travel 10,000 miles on the waste from just 70 British toilets. No specs were available on American toilet performance as of this writing. In economically devastated Flint, Michigan, students at Kettering University are proving that the Midwestern work ethic and resourcefulness that once made the US auto industry a global force is still alive, by working with Swedish Biogas International to produce a dual fuel Chevy Silverado truck that can run entirely on biomethane. The truck is an exploratory project; Flint is also apparently considering biomethane as a mass transit fuel. And in Germany, a team at the University of Weimar is developing a project involving portable lavatories that recycle waste as fuel. Their hope is that this can solve two problems of the burgeoning number of refugee camps around the world in one stroke, by creating energy for the camp from the waste it produces. According to the UN Refugee Agency, 300 refugee camps around the world are home to about 2.4 million people, and one third of these refugee camps have inadequate waste disposal and energy resources. Now if only we could get all the politicians who are in the pocket of the oil industry to pull their heads out of their rears. If a car can travel 10,000 miles on the waste from 70 toilets, imagine how far it could go on the hot air from just one campaign speech.