Portland's Garbage Trucks Could Soon Be Fueled By Poop

How does one city lower its carbon footprint by a third? It's simple—poop. By converting the methane gas from its sewer system into natural gas, the city of Portland, Oregon hopes to replace diesel fuel in many vehicles, including garbage trucks.

All Aboard The Poop Mobile

In April 2017, Oregon Live reported that The Portland City Council "unanimously approved" the construction of a $9 million facility designed to convert methane gas from Portland's sewer system into natural gas. City officials will be selling the gas through a Portland-based distributor to organizations that plan on replacing diesel to fuel cars, buses, garbage trucks, and other vehicles. That's right: they're making money while making things easier on the environment.

According to Atlas Obscura, poop power isn't new for Portland—77 percent of the city's methane is already being repurposed into electricity and heat at the city's wastewater treatment plants. This new facility will take care of the remaining 23 percent, which is currently burned as waste, which releases carbon dioxide and other harmful elements into the air.

Related: Could We Use Poop To Power Our Cars?

Morning trash pickup in Portland, Oregon.

The Perfect Marriage

If this poop-fueled mission didn't already sound like a lofty goal, Oregon Live reports that bureau officials hope the methane-turned-natural-gas could replace enough diesel fuel to power 154 garbage trucks annually. We can't think of a greater power couple than sewer and garbage. 

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Watch And Learn: Our Favorite Content About Poop Power

Portland Is Turning Poop Into Power

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Composting manure produces nitrous oxide and methane emissions, which are greenhouse gases that are 325 times more potent than carbon dioxide. 00:15

  2. Advanced biofuels have more favorable fuel properties than ethanol. 00:56

  3. Bacillus subtilis is a soil organism that can be engineered to produce alcohol biofuels. 01:49

How Poop Will Power The World

Written by Curiosity Staff May 16, 2017

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