(ROYAL OAK, Mich.) — The Detroit Zoo is planning to turn a major byproduct of its animal inhabitants into reusable energy.
The Detroit Zoological Society and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation launched a crowdfunding campaign on Monday to build an energy-producing biodigester at the zoo.
The biodigester will turn 400 tons of animal manure generated annually at the Detroit Zoo, as well as other organic waste, into a methane-rich gas, officials said in a press release.
The biogas will then be used to help power the Ruth Roby Glancy Animal Health Complex, and is expected to save the zoo around $70,000 to $80,000 a year in energy costs.
“We’ll be the first zoo in North America to have a dry biodigester on grounds — turning the dry animal waste into electricity,” Detroit Zoological Society COO Gerry VanAker told ABC News affiliate WXYZ-TV.
The system will also convert manure into compost that will be used to fertilize animal habitats, gardens and public spaces throughout the 125-acre zoo.
If the Detroit Zoological Society reaches its crowdfunding goal of $55,000 by June 15, 2015 on the crowdfunding platform Patronicity, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation will provide a $55,000 matching grant to the zoo.
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