• Costa Rica Real Estate

Burning humanity’s poop could yield up to $9.5 billion

November 3, 2015

Which means we could all be sitting on gold mines.

“We recycle the nutrients in human waste effectively via agriculture in many places, yet the potential energy value of human waste has been given much less attention to date,” co-author Chris Metcalfe of Trent University said in a release. “Challenges are many but clearly there is a compelling, multi-dimensional financial case to be made for deriving energy from waste.”

Such fuel can come in the form of methane-rich biogas, generated by the bacterial breakdown of feces in an oxygen-free environment. The residue could then be dried and charred into sludge, an energy source akin to coal or charcoal, the authors write.

The report authors calculated the low and high assumptions for how much biogas and sludge can be made from the average amount of waste humans produce, and then the monetary value of the fuel sources’ energy equivalents. The result: turning people’s poo into fuel could be worth between $1.6 billion to $9.5 billion. The higher figure equals roughly the fuel needed to power households in Indonesia, Brazil and Ethiopia.

Harnessing fuel just from people who defecate in the open could be worth $200 million, the authors estimate.

But it’s not so clear-cut; the authors write there are concerns about the safety of such fuels, and that testing is needed to show they don’t “impact food taste or quality.” And the process of production could initially be costly.

Oh, and then there’s this, from the report: “Clearly there is a financial incentive in generating energy by-products from waste, but this may not be sufficient in all cultures to overcome the ‘ick’ factor of using our own waste.”

© 2015, The Washington Post

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Costa Rica announces infrastructure works in effort to boost economy
Costa Rica
330 views
Costa Rica
330 views

Costa Rica announces infrastructure works in effort to boost economy

The Tico Times - August 17, 2019

Costa Rica announced Friday a millionaire investment in airport infrastructure as a mechanism to boost the economy and generate jobs.…

A road trip down Costa Rica’s Costanera
Southern Zone
71 views
Southern Zone
71 views

A road trip down Costa Rica’s Costanera

Alejandro Zúñiga - August 16, 2019

Route 34, better known as the Costanera, is a two-lane highway on Costa Rica's Pacific Coast. Not fully completed until…

Tico Talk for expats and tourists: Part 7
Arts & Culture
10516 views
Arts & Culture
10516 views

Tico Talk for expats and tourists: Part 7

Christopher Howard - August 16, 2019

You can’t call yourself fluent in Costa Rican Spanish unless you understand its slang. Over the past several weeks, we…

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!