Dog Park Science

Here’s the preface for this blog entry: I love Pop Sci magazine. It’s not only devoted to my favorite subject, science, but it’s also got fabulous photography and interesting layout. I first discovered this magazine when Mr. Tedone left it on his desk one day . . . So expect to see many blog entries concerning Pop Sci!

So how can a dog park be scientific? Well, you’ve probably heard about how animal feces (for example, cow pies) releases methane into the air. CH4 anyone?

This is because anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that don’t need oxygen to survive, and eat feces instead) break the feces down into methane gas as part of their respiration process.

Methane gas is a source of energy when it is burned. If it isn’t captured for human use, it can enter the atmosphere, when it is categorized as a ‘greenhouse gas.’

A science-savvy Matthew Mazzotta in Massachusetts came up with an idea to harness dog waste from dog parks and turn it into methane gas. So at one dog park there, the night lamps are entirely powered by the mini dog poop power plant on premises. The lamps run entirely on methane, at little expense to dog owners. Just dump the doggie bag into an underground disposal, and let the bacteria do their thing!

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