Poop + Trash = Power!
One of the most exciting components of Toyota Elephant Passage is the planned use of a biomass gasification system, which can turn human trash and animal waste into energy to power Toyota Elephant Passage. The gasification system will convert more than 90 percent of the zoo’s waste into usable energy.
Biomass gasification is a clean, environmentally-friendly technology that has been in use for decades, but has never been used for such a diverse waste stream ranging from human trash to animal waste. The zoo’s groundbreaking use of this technology has put us on the cutting edge of green technology that could change the way businesses worldwide handle their waste.
Every day, Denver Zoo produces an average 4,200 pounds of general waste (food waste and trash left by visitors), which goes to a landfill and 2,700 pounds of animal waste that currently is composted. Preliminary estimates indicate that the conversion of zoo waste into usable energy could save as much as $150,000 a year in energy costs. Denver Zoo’s landfill contributions will be reduced by 1.5 million pounds per year, putting the zoo a giant step closer to becoming a “zero-waste” facility.
Today, the zoo is testing gasification technology in hopes of becoming a national leader in renewable energy. Toyota Elephant Passage will be a highly-visible model project in reducing dependency on traditional energy sources — as well as greatly reducing challenges in managing solid waste streams.