Poop-powered prison


“Human Feces Powers Rwandan Prison”

“Imagine eating food that was cooked using natural gas generated from your own human waste. Thousands of prisoners in Rwanda don’t have to imagine it – they live it.”

It seems like a reasonable idea. Pretty much any sewer treatment gives off methane as I understand it, this keeps the methane out of the air, keeps wood smoke out of the air, keeps raw sewage out of the water, and possibly keeps a few more trees standing. Properly processed methane should be stink free and bug free as well. The solids could be a bit more problematic because humans are susceptible to many bugs in human waste but as long as they keep the quality control up thats perfectly safe too.

I wonder if it would be possible to formulate a diet for the prisoners that maximizes fuel production potential? Any (serious) ideas on what could be done? What is it in the waste that breaks down?

Huh. Damned good idea, and talk about a renewable resource!

Well one answer would seem to be grass I suppose link

Quote from about 3/4 of the way down the page.

I am not sure how easy it would be to get prisoners to eat grass and I am gonna go out on a limb and say that the extra bacteria in the cattles intestinal track is what makes that work.

Well, IME, whole grain cereal seems to maximize energy production. I guess as long as none of the prisoners are allowed matches or a lighter it would be okay. Otherwise, they could devise a blowtorch to cut the cell bars. :farty smiley:

If all those emissions are burps and farts, that won’t help power the prison, unless the prisoners walk around with Dune-fremen type suits to collect the gaseous emission.

I wonder what the efficiency would be to emulating a cows stomach to turn grass into methane and fertilizer. You would then use the gas and put the fertilizer back into the field and repeat. I wonder if it could compare to other biofuel methods.

Don’t forget, the food that will become “fuel” is also the food you’re cooking with that “fuel.” So you’ll want something that doesn’t take much energy to cook, and that will generate a lot of human waste.

This gives a whole new meaning to that age old piece of bathroom wall wisdom:

Flush twice, it’s a long way to the kitchen.

Those of you who are interested in this subject might find this project interesting as well.

The Haubenschild dairy farm uses a manure digester to produce methane gas, which generates electricity for the dairy and about 80 homes. I heard the owner speak at a forum on renewable energy earlier this year, and he said one day’s manure creates the same amount of energy as one barrel of oil. Those of you who have been watching Morgan Spurlock’s “30 Days” may remember this farm being mentioned in last week’s episode, when they talked about the Dancing Rabbits using “humanure.”