If you ever pay a visit to the US capital, flush the toilet with a little extra pride. Any excrement you produce will be helping contribute to America’s clean energy future.
Yep, you heard that right: In September, D.C. Water became the first utility in North America to convert treated sewage sludge to electricity. At its Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant, a thermal hydrolysis system is now being used to pressure-cook poo, before feeding it hungry microbes who turn it into methane gas to power turbines.
The new system is expected to provide one third of the water treatment plant’s power, allowing D.C. Water to slash its own annual electricity bill by $10 million/£6.4 million. (It takes a lot of juice to shuttle shit through the pipes!) To sweeten the deal even further, the new poop-to-power system generates clean, “Class A” biosolids, which can be turned into compost and fed to local daffodils.