Dog feces is being used to keep the lights on — well, one light, anyway — at a park in Cambridge.
Conceptual artist Matthew Mazzotta, through an MIT-funded project known as Project Park Spark, is the brains behind the scheme, in which a “methane digester” is used to to convert freshly scooped dog waste into methane.
Dog owners simply collect their dog waste in a special biodegradable bag and throw it into an air-tight cylinder. The feces are broken down by anaerobic bacteria. The process produces methane, which is then released through a valve and burnt as fuel — in this case to power an old-fashioned gas-burning lamppost in the park.
Mazzotta is open to other suggestions on how to use the flame, and suggestions have included a teahouse, popcorn stand and shadow-projection box.
It’s a pretty brilliant use of dog waste, which, when it goes into landfill, releases methane into the atmosphere. Harnessing it is a far better idea, considering methane is a potent greenhouse gas more than times more harmful than carbon dioxide, WIRED reports.
Mazzotta hopes to install permanent underground digesters in parks throughout the United States.
(Photo: Project Park Spark)