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Drill Me! Drill Now!

Greg Harman
gharman@sacurrent.com

San Antonio — if our population keeps growing as expected — may one day replace Houston as Energy City, USA. Of course, that will also require each of us to do our part: Eat more.

Today, news broke that the city on that befouled San Antonio River is finding economic and energy value in another waste stream: Your crap.

A few years ago a meditation buddy of mine in Houston was deep in research regarding human waste and energy potentials. He was forever promising to give me the, uh, scoop. It never dropped.

So, with a first-in-the-nation claim here that I’m just betting will be rapidly absorbed into the Repub and Dem energy platforms, we have an opportunity to do something so useful with something so necessary. Poop for power.

Why on earth this was buried in the Ex-News’ business section, I’ll never know. If anything screams for Front Page All-Caps Coverage, this is it.

‘Alamo City’s human poop first to power.’ (No Cisneros reference implicit or implied.)

Here’s the Reuters version of events:

San Antonio unveiled a deal on Tuesday that will make it the first U.S. city to harvest methane gas from human waste on a commercial scale and turn it into clean-burning fuel.

San Antonio residents produce about 140,000 tons a year of a substance gently referred to as "biosolids," which can be reprocessed into natural gas, said Steve Clouse, chief operating officer of the city's water system.

"You may call it something else," Clouse said, but for area utilities, the main byproduct of human waste - methane gas - will soon be converted into natural gas to burn in their power plants.

The city approved a deal where Massachusetts-based Ameresco Inc will convert the city's biosolids into natural gas, which could generate about 1.5 million cubic feet per day, he said.

Methane gas, which is a byproduct of human and organic waste, is a principal component of the natural gas used to fuel furnaces, power plants, and other combustion-based generators.

"The private vendor will come onto the facility, construct some gas cleaning systems, remove the moisture, remove the carbon dioxide content, and then sell that gas on the open market," Clouse said.

The gas will be sold to power generators, he said.

Some communities are using methane gas harvested from solid waste to power smaller facilities like sewage treatment plants, but San Antonio is the first to see large-scale conversion of methane gas from sewage into fuel for power generation, he said.

Following the agreement, more than 90 percent of materials flushed down the toilets and sinks of San Antonio will be recycled, he said. Liquid is now used for irrigation, many of the solids are made into compost, and now the methane gas will be recycled for power generation.

So, if you want to be a true Energy Patriot and liberate God-fearing and God-indifferent Americans from the oil exports and the questionable morality of foreigners in exotic, faraway places like Can-a-da and Mex-i-co, take a pledge to fill your chamber pot daily.

Volunteer your precious bodily products proudly as the human derrick that you are.

Rise with me and chant: “Drill Me! Drill Now!”

Posted by gharman on 9/10/2008 11:38:06 AM
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