It’s no secret that Colorado is a fan of alternative energy. The state government offers additional subsidies for people interested in vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt, offering thousands in incentives. Still, it seems far into the future that the state — or anyone, will start fueling cars with feces.
Despite that, there is such a vehicle currently being used at the Denver Zoo. A 20-year-old motorized rickshaw from Thailand, better known as a tuk tuk, has been re-engineered to run on, well, poop.
Mike Dunbar is one of the mechanical engineers working at the zoo who helped engineer the waste wagon, which runs on animal dung and other zoo waste. The vehicle’s power system compresses the material, creating a gas that is then used to generate electricity. That charge is then used to power everything on the rig.
While the tuk tuk is painfully slow, its creators say the point is to demonstrate that it’s possible to run a vehicle on trash. The vehicle is still incomplete, but is expected to be finished by the fall.
“This is not just a zoo thing,” Hale said to the Denver Post. “It can be applied on campuses, in communities and many other environments.”
Once completed, the project currently powering the puttering tuk tuk will be scaled up to generate 20 percent of the zoo’s energy, which translates into repurposing roughly 1.5 million pounds of waste annually.
Watch a video of the vehicle in action after the break.
[Source: Denver Post]