ROYAL OAK (WWJ) – Construction begins this spring on a project that will make the Detroit Zoo the first such facility the nation to turn waste into energy.

It’s called a biodigester and it’s designed to convert about 400 tons of manure and other organic waste into methane gas to be used as energy fuel.

Detroit Zoo is on the forefront of technology and plan to use the process to power the 18,000-square-foot Ruth Roby Glancy Health Complex.

The potential savings are substantial, with up to $80,000 in energy costs and another $40,000 in waste disposal fees.

The system also will convert manure into compost that will be used to fertilize animal habitats, gardens and public spaces.

As part of the effort, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Detroit Zoological Society are conducting a crowdfunding campaign.

The project could be completed as soon as October.

 

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