An on-site anaerobic digester facility on five hectares of land proposed for the Toronto Zoo will annually turn 1,000 tons of animal-poop and organic waste into biogas. Biogas, thus generated, will keep the grid powered, and will heat the animal exhibits and other areas. Monetarily, it will save the zoo about $1 million a year that it spends on natural gas.
Dave Ireland, who heads up conservation programs for the zoo, said:
We do produce a considerable amount of waste, but I prefer to call it fuel. If we can decrease the necessity for coal-fired and other fossil fuel power plants, then we’re cleaning up the air and indirectly fulfilling the zoo’s (conservation) mission.
The Canada’s largest and the world’s third-largest public zoo will sell any surplus electricity to the grid under the province’s feed-in-tariff program. The facility will go on to produce between 2.5 and 5 megawatts of electricity that can power and heat at least 2,000 homes. It will also bring down overall CO2 emissions by 25,000 tons annually. While the final design will be completed by February 2011, full operation will begin in 2012.