toronto zoo poo

The Toronto Zoo just got $2.7 million to make energy out of poop

If anything can protect humanity from the inevitable ravages of climate change, it's science — perhaps with some help from our animal friends and the food they've already digested.

Scarborough-Rouge Park MP Gary Anandasangaree announced this week that Canada's federal government wants to invest an additional $2.7 million into a program that converts animal waste from the Toronto Zoo into energy.

The funds will go toward North America's first ever zoo-based "biogas" plant, which is set to open this May on a three-hectare swarth of land just east of Meadowvale Road.

Run by a co-op called ZooShare, the facility will divert both animal poop from the Toronto Zoo and food waste from major grocery stores away from landfills, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 10,000 tonnes of Carbon dioxide each year.

The raw material will instead be run through something called a biogas "digester" to become a renewable source of electricity and heat, as well as high-quality fertilizer.

"Canadians across the country are coming up with innovative and affordable solutions to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions, saving people money and creating good jobs along the way," said Anandasangaree when announcing the government's support of ZooShare on behalf of Environment Minister Catherine McKenna this week.

"By investing in these projects, from coast to coast to coast, the Government of Canada is making sure we are positioned to succeed in the $26 trillion global market for clean solutions and to create good middle class jobs today and for the future."

The Toronto Zoo seems thrilled to exchange its smelliest natural resource for power.

"We are going to be making good use of our animal waste; by using it to fuel a 500kW biogas facility," reads a post on the zoo's website.

"The 500kW facility will produce a third of the Zoo's electricity demand and will reduce our CO2 emissions by 10,000 tonnes," it continues. "Using renewable energy sources, such as biogas helps in the fight against climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere."

You can learn more about how zoo poo becomes power (and profits) at ZooShare's website now.

Lead photo by

The Toronto Zoo


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