May 10, 2021

A bright idea: Streetlamps powered by dog poo

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By Rain Noe From Core77

Your dog s***s free energy. As do mine. And every day I pick it up with a plastic bag and throw it in the garbage, where it does no good.

British inventor Brian Harper is doing something about this. Harper lives in Worcestershire’s Malvern Hills, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (a UK designation of conservation/protection from development). Harper noticed that inconsiderate dog owners were leaving plastic bags filled with poop on the ground near his house. “I looked and I thought this is a crazy way,” Harper told the BBC. “There must be a way of trying to give dog poo a value so people would do something sensible with it.”

Harper spent two years creating an old-school gas lamp that’s hooked up to an anaerobic digester. A dispenser next to it provides free paper bags. Dog owners can bag their dog’s poop, toss it into the digester, crank the handle, and the microrganisms within break the poop down into methane. Ten bags of dog poop are enough to power the lamp for two hours.

The concept isn’t Harper’s; he states that he got the idea from the Park Spark Project, an art installation in Boston that installed a similar contraption at a dog run.

Sadly, their Facebook account hasn’t been updated since 2014, so we assume the project is defunct. Hopefully Harper’s flame will burn a bit longer.
“[The] amount of poop I scoop,” one Facebook user commented on Harper’s project, “I could do the Blackpool Illuminations.”

The Blackpool Illuminations is an annual lights festival held in Lancashire.

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