Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Environmentality 12 September 2012

Dear Environmentality Listeners,

Dog lovers and dog haters should at least agree on one thing, dog waste could be put to better use than ending up as landfill.  This was where one man had a great idea, creating the Poo Power initiative, a concept where dog poo is collected and utilised in biogas generators in parks and elsewhere.

The man with the great idea is Duncan Chew, a Lecturer in Sustainability, and was interviewed today by Jaime, Smokey and Yolande.  Duncan has two wonderful dogs (Diesel and Sally, both boxers).  Whilst taking his dogs for walks around the local park, it occurred to Duncan that biogas generators could be set up in parks where dogs frequent.

Duncan and Diesel, Image Courtesy of Janine Eastgate/Newspix.

Duncan shared with listeners his story about how Poo Power came about.  Duncan had a time in his life where he was recovering from a very rare form of cancer on his knee.   Accompanied by his trusted dog companions, Duncan used the time of bed rest to undertake research and found Poo Power.  

Collecting animal waste and using it to create biogas has a lot of potential in Australia, with 63% of 7.5 million households owning a pet.   One dog produces 0.34 kg of poo per day.  Each day around Australia, 1,350 tonnes of dog waste needs to be disposed of. 

An 'anaerobic methane digester' is the item that would process the dog waste alongside other waste material like compost.  The system processes the waste into different streams and treats bacteria.  A biogas (primarily methane) is generated that can be a source of renewable energy, used for purposes such as powering barbecues and lights.

Duncan has secured a Federal Government grant as part of the 'Inspiring Australia - Unlocking Australia's Potential' program, helping to pilot the Poo Power project and undertake testing of organic waste management from animals.  The initiative is attracting a lot of interest from local councils, engineers, schools and families.  The Poo Power model has the potential to be both affordable and scalable.  One day your dog's poo could help power the lights in your local park or even your backyard!

Find out more about Poo Power on the website: http://www.poopower.com.au

Smokey and Jaime also covered some items currently making the news, namely, discussions concerning the ban on the super trawler Abel Tasman and the closure of the Hazelwood power station.   Feel free to leave a comment about these topics or any other part of the show.

Smokey played 'Dog on Wheels' by Belle & Sebastian, a tune he happily obtained whilst holidaying and thrift shopping in California.  

Duncan selected the following music for today's show:
   Never Miss Your Water - Diesel
   Shine - Take That
   Life is Wonderful - Jason Mraz
   Nuclear - Ryan Adams
   Wonderwall - Oasis

Listen to the show!


  1. Who would have thought that talking about poo can be so much fun! :)

  2. Truly an amazing page. I like what you've got in here. thanks for the share. Totally interesting indeed. thanks!
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