Advanced Biofuels


Denver Zoo Highlights "Tuk Tuk" Rickshaw Running on Gasification of Animal Leavings

Date Posted: March 23, 2012


The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) first Green Award winner, Denver Zoo, will showcase its groundbreaking working gasification prototype, a motorized three-wheeled rickshaw called a tuk tuk that sustainably utilizes animal poop and human trash as fuel, on a road tour.

The Tour de Tuk Tuk leaves Denver on March 22 stopping at zoos in Colorado Springs, Albuquerque and Phoenix before arriving at its final destination at the AZA Mid-year Meeting on March 27 in Palm Desert, California.

Austin and Blake's Tuk Tuk, sponsored by the Autrey Foundation, was created to test the poop to power gasification technology planned for use in Denver Zoo's new 10-acre exhibit, Toyota Elephant Passage.

Denver Zoo has built this innovative system from scratch and expects to implement the full system in the Toyota Elephant Passage exhibit by the end of the year.

Furthering the zoo's efforts to be a national leader in sustainability, the gasification system will convert more than 90 percent of the zoo's waste into usable energy, eliminating 1.5 million pounds of trash currently going to landfills annually.

"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.

"The result is astounding - an energy solution that can create clean energy from trash," says VP for Planning and Capital Projects George Pond.

This unique technology developed by the zoo, designed and built by three full-time staff, is under provisional patent protection and will be the first to utilize a diverse on-site waste stream, a breakthrough that could change how the world manages waste and creates energy.

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.

Numerous valuable partners have worked together to financially support this new technology including Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc., The Boettcher Foundation, Anabel C. and Jerome P. McHugh, The Governor's Energy Office (Colorado), Pioneer Resources, Mesa Energy Partners, LLC and Western Energy Alliance.

At the finale of the Tour de Tuk Tuk Denver Zoo will join leaders from accredited zoos and aquariums around the country at the Mid-year Meeting to share sustainability efforts and find green business solutions.

The Green Summit is a feature of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Mid-year Meeting, hosted by The Living Desert.

Led by the AZA's Green Scientific Advisory Group, the second annual Green Summit will provide a series of workshops to help attendees find unique solutions to become more sustainable.

"Sharing our knowledge amongst accredited zoos and aquariums is critical to our continued success saving animals through environmental stewardship," says Denver Zoo President/CEO Craig Piper.

"We are so fortunate to work in such a collaborative field, where innovative ideas are shared."

"AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are leaders in connecting their communities to nature," said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy.

"Together, they reach 175 million, with science-based messages on the value of sustainability."

For more information, call 720-337-1444.

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