10 Sep 2008:
San Antonio Is First U.S. City
To Convert Human Waste to Methane Gas
San Antonio has signed a contract with a Massachusetts company to collect the methane produced by processing the Texas city’s human waste
and sell it to utility companies to burn and produce electricity. Although some U.S. communities have collected smaller amounts of methane from sewage to power waste treatment plants, this is the first time that an American city will be collecting gases from human waste on a large scale to sell to utilities. Under the new plan, more than 90 percent of the human waste flushed down San Antonio’s toilets will be recycled. The city will use the liquid for irrigation, the solids to produce compost, and the gases for energy generation. Sewage gases are similar to natural gas, which is primarily composed of methane.
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Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s coral reefs, which are largely intact thanks to stifled coastal development in the communist nation. View the gallery.
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The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
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A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.