sparkpark

No BS! Think your dog’s waste can’t be useful? One powerful project in Cambridge, Massachusetts proves you wrong. The Park Spark Project uses dog waste to power lampposts … for real. Hey, we’re already drinking recycled pee and using pig poop. Let me digest this for you.

Owners take their dogs for a walk, the dogs do(o) their business, owners toss the waste and biodegradable bag into a public methane digester which breaks down the poo into methane gas to light flame-powered street lamps. The methane captured by the Park Spark is piped to gas burning lamppost like an ‘eternal flame’. This eternal flame will burn until someone or a group of people propose an idea to use the heat and light of the constantly burning flame.

Digesters work using the natural process of anaerobic decomposition, a series of processes in which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. Organic matter (like dog waste) sealed in an air-tight container produces methane, which can then be separated from the rest of the matter and used as fuel. Methane Digestion is a very simple yet completely mystifying technology. Methane is known to be 30-70 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a harmful greenhouse gas. Burning Methane CH4, a potent greenhouse gas, separates it into Carbon Dioxide CO2 and Water H20. Although CO2 is another greenhouse gas it is not actually as potent as methane, so by burning methane you can actually earn carbon credits. Digesters are used all over the world to cook and light spaces. Here the heat and light from the burning methane becomes an opportunity where community participation is key.

Anyone interested has the chance to propose a project to redirect the use of the methane from the ‘eternal flame’ to use the gas in exceptional ways. They are looking to expand to six different cities next spring and are looking for people to help. Email info@parksparkproject.com to get involved.

Get more eco tips and tricks for your pup at Green Your Dogs.