Tuk Tuk Demonstrates Denver Zoo's Waste Gasification Technology

Denver Zoo, has showcased its innovative motorised three-wheeled rickshaw that is fuelled by the gasification of animal waste and trash as a prototype of its waste to energy technology.

In a scene reminiscent of the Back to the Future films, Mike Dunbar tweaks the gasification system by adding a new air heater. The goal being to make the system start up faster as there are multiple demonstrations planned for the day. But where's the Flux Capacitor?
Photo credit: Denver Zoo
30 March 2012

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) first Green Award winner, Denver Zoo, has showcased its innovative working prototype of a motorised three-wheeled rickshaw that is fuelled by the gasification of animal waste and trash.

According to the zoo, the Rickshaw, also called a Tuk Tuk, was created from scratch to test the gasification technology that it expects to implement in a 10 acre elephant exhibit by the end of the year.

The zoo said that its planned gasification system will convert more than 90% of the zoo's waste into usable energy, eliminating 1.5 million pounds (680 tonnes) of trash currently sent to landfill each year, as well as supplying 20% of the zoo's energy requirements.

Between the energy it saves and reduced transpotion costs for shipping its waste, the zoo said it will save around $150,000 per year.

The Tuk Tuk has been re-engineered by three of the zoo's staff to run on synthetic gas produced by the gasification of pellets made from animal droppings and the trash generated by the zoo's human staff and visitors.

During the early phases of design development, the zoo worked with the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), which funded a workshop to help the zoo explore viable energy options.

"We wanted an innovative energy solution that would help us eliminate our landfill waste. We immediately considered ways to create energy from animal poop and human trash.

Denver Zoo is hauling its Tuk Tuk prototype of the gasifier technology on a road tour to Palm Desert, stopping at accredited zoos along the way.

The three wheeler itself is actually propelled to its tops speed of around 10 mph electric motors, with the engine being used to charge the batteries.

For more news on the Poo Powered Tuk Tuk don't miss the March/April issue of Waste Management World. Sign up for your subscription HERE

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