Pig poop has been turned into alternative energy and fertilizer, a monumental effort that has been awarded a Federal Government 2013 Star Award. Let’s hear it for poo power?
Pork makes up 67% of Chinese meat consumption, and there are over 700 million pigs and 1.8 million pig farms in the country. This results in approximately 1.4 million tons of pig crap annually, and another 7 million tons of urine, which has become a mjor environmental problem on a global scale to due seepage into the Chinese nation’s water supply. 16,000 dead pigs were found in the Haungpu River earlier this year, which should give you an idea of the scale of this problem.
Cooperative Research Center for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE), Chinese firm HLM Asia PL and Huazhong University of Science and Technology have developed new award winning technology that could turn all that crap into a usable alternative biogas fuel.
PooCARE is a two phase anaerobic bio digester for treating pig waste. Using a special combination of different anaerobic treatments the pooCARE process can produce clean biogas energy — about 380 cubic meters of biogas daily, worth around $41,000 a year, to be used as a heating fuel. Additionally pooCARE can generate 5,600 tons of fertilizer with a dollar value of $550,000 per year. And that is all out of just 73,000 tons of pig crap, leaving plenty more room for expansion.
With the award winning success in China pooCARE is now looking to bring the technology to Australian pig farms and to continue gain a better understanding of the health impact farm animal waste has on people. This recycling of a major health and environmental concern into useful fuels and fertilizers is exactly the kind of innovative thinking we need going into the next century.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison