Monday, April 23, 2007

Elephant Dung Power

About a year ago, I saw a program on the BBC called “World Challenge” about manufacturing paper from elephant dung. As of late, there’s one more use of elephant dung.

By: Vanessa Uy

After viewing a program on BBC called “World Challenge” where large sums for capital are awarded to start-up whose business model benefits their respective local community. A venture about producing paper from elephant dung was proving to be a local success. The benefits of this are a godsend because there’s a large portion of unemployed poor people found in countries that regularly use elephants as draft animals like in the Indian sub-continent and in Thailand.

There’s also a very recent discovery by scientists about a genus of fungus found in elephant dung that’s very efficient in converting it to methane. If developed, it could serve as a basis for a very efficient bio - gas digester and since bio - gas systems has moved beyond its hippie-flower-power-mystic image that it was thirty or so years ago. Bio - gas digesters are now a viable source of cheap methane for cooking and heating in domestic settings.

In their series of “Climate Watch” programs, the BBC sent their alternative/renewable energy correspondents to rural parts of China the past year where pig waste is converted to methane via bio – gas digesters for cooking and heating their homes. This may serve as an alternative to the Chinese government’s program of building coal-fired power plants at a rate of almost one-a-week.

The “beeb” may have to send their alternative/renewable energy correspondents to cover the development stage of an elephant dung bio – gas digester to study its viability. If this works, it may become an inexpensive source of cooking fuel for those living in India, Bangladesh, Thailand or anywhere with a large untapped elephant dung supply.

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