- The Denver Post in an editorial has defended the Denver Zoo's plan to install a $3.3 million biomass gasification plant that would turn animal waste into a power source. The process would shred and dry the material into pellets that would be heated at temperatures up to 1,470 degrees in an oxygen-starved environment, creating a gas that would power generators. The zoo expects the plant would eliminate 1.5 million pounds of waste it trucks every year to the landfill and cut the amount of electricity it pulls from the grid by 20%.
- The plan, which has been public since 2009, recently ran into opposition when a neighborhood organization demanded another public hearing and a City Council review of safety and health risks. The organization cited potential air quality problems in the park and surrounding neighborhoods.
- The editorial points out that the plant must perform under standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and "must be continuously monitored to ensure compliance."
Companies are finding ways to turn waste to energy, leaving a greener footprint. And the Denver Zoo isn't the only place that's thinking creatively about animal waste disposal. Or even the only zoo, as the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak, MI, announced plans earlier this year to convert animal waste into methane and compost.
The Post editorial sums it up: "The zoo is trying to reduce its waste footprint through an innovative way to capture energy. It is a smart plan, one that has gone through extensive review and approval. Continued gripes from some opponents are misguided and, frankly, way too late."