JoAnna Lou
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Light by Poop
Arizona city considers a street lamp powered by dog waste
A dog poop-to-methane converter in Cambridge, Mass., powers the local dog run's lamp.

Last year, Lisa Wogan blogged about a Cambridge, Mass., artist who created a dog poop-to-methane converter used to fuel a local park lamp. Visitors pick up after their dogs and stick the biodegradable waste bags in the converter to power the light. I happen to think this is an ingenious idea. It puts dog waste to good use, while encouraging people to pick up after their dogs.

Although the idea of poop-powered lights hasn't caught on yet with other cities, Gilbert, Ariz., is the latest town to consider the alternative energy source for street lamps.

The town is currently debating whether to approve a project that would use dog waste collected from the local dog park to power a street lamp, with the option of expanding to other uses later.

Students from Arizona State University are hoping to design and create the converter necessary to power the street lamp. Although a similar machine has already been created, there will be unique challenges in designing one suited to Arizona's climate.

I would love to see more cities embrace this alternative energy source and it's a great way to get students involved in green initiatives with a “real world” project.

I also hope that one day this technology will be accessible for home use. Imagine having a poop-powered porch light!

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

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