You might call it a throne, but it turns out your toilet could be a figurative gold mine. Thanks to poop.
We're all full of it (some more than others), flush it down the toilet every day (hopefully), and promptly forget about it (also, hopefully). But apparently, the world's bowel movements could be a vast, and dare we say renewable, source of energy worth up to $9.5 billion in natural gas equivalent every year, according to a new report from the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment, and Health. Well, holy crap.
“We recycle the nutrients in human waste effectively via agriculture in many places, yet the potential energy value of human waste has been given much less attention to date,” said Dr. Chris Metcalfe, a co-author of the report. “Challenges are many but clearly there is a compelling, multi-dimensional financial case to be made for deriving energy from waste.”
Wait, what? Well, it turns out that biogas can be extracted from your poop and used as energy. Specifically, the methane-rich biogas can be generated when bacteria breaks down fecal matter in an oxygen-free system. Oh, and all the leftover and dried out poop "sludge" (their word, not ours) can be used as an energy source similar to coal and charcoal, according to the report.