Guinea Pig Methane Power!

Half-way around the world, a couple in Peru is harnessing the power of guinea pig poop, to generate methane for their farm. We couldn’t make that up if we tried.

The couple are a pair of retired plant physiology professors who have taken to running a sustainable agriculture program in their very own villa called Casa Blanca. It’s a beautiful set of gardens complete with a lab for research. But the most curious thing is the thousand guinea pigs they raise. They have a special shed for them with small compartments separated by brickwork. The guinea pigs eat specialized plant waste, and in turn, produce an astonishing 3 tonnes of fecal matter per month.

They use around 200kg of the excrement to power their very own bio-digester which in turn produces 3 cubic meters of methane per day which they use for powering their villa. The rest of it is used for fertilizer that they sell to local farms.

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Washington DC Electrified With Raw Sewage

Completely unrelated to the current political climate in the United States, did you know Washington D.C. is partially powered by a sewage plant? No, seriously.

That’s right, just this week the D.C. Water utility company has announced a bioenergy facility that makes use of resident’s waste water into producing methane gas which can than be burned to generate electricity — To the tune of 10 megawatts! The facility is saving the company an estimated $10 million a year in energy bills.

Simply put, the liquid is removed from the sewage water and the solids are refined into a type of fuel. Those solids are heated, mixed, and sterilized into a form that can be easily digested by a certain type of microbe, which then in turn produce methane for burning. For a more detailed explanation, check out the info-graphic from the Washington Post explaining the entire process.

And on a smaller scale, you could do something like this in your very own backyard.