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A Toronto researcher says most communities are underestimating a potential source of cheap electricity - raw sewage.

University of Toronto professor David Bagley collected waste water at a North Toronto water treatment plant. He took the sewage into his lab, dried it and then burned the solids to see how much energy they produced. He estimates the energy produced from sewage at three treatment plants could produce more than 100 megawatts of electricity. That could be enough to keep a small town going for a year. But Bagley says few take advantage of this resource.

"Our measurements show that there's enough energy that we should be able to completely offset the electricity needed to run the plant, and have extra left over the send back to to the grid."

Bagley finds communities are reluctant to invest in the equipment they'd need to convert sewage into power. But he's hoping to to design a cheaper and more efficient system so more people can get the most out of their sewage.

David Bagley's report, "Experimental Determination of Energy Content of Unknown Organics in Municipal Wastewater Streams"

National Geographic on using bacteria from sewage to produce electricity

The U.S. Department of Energy has more on renewable and alternative energy sources


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This is a really great idea. If we can make it cleaner and safer than fossil fuels, we'll be golden.10/26/2004 11:29:31 AM
Nick Gaydos
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