Poop is good for a lot of things: throwing at your sister, lighting your neighborhood park, and powering everything from your house and spaceship to your nearest sewage plant and margarita machine (how that last one is different from a blender, I don’t know). And now Southwest Spain town Chiclana de la Frontera is adding “fueling your car” to that list.
It’s not as simple or quaint as just cramming crap into your fuel tank. Essentially, poopy water plus sunlight equals algae, which is the basis of the biofuel that actually runs your car. According to Reuters:
The project in Chiclana, called All-gas to sound like “algas” or seaweed in Spanish, seeks to … [become] the first municipal wastewater plant using cultivated algae as a source for biofuel.
While industries such as breweries or paper mills have produced biogas from wastewater for their own energy needs, All-gas is the first to grow algae from sewage in a systematic way to produce a net export of bioenergy, including vehicle biofuel.
[O]nce out of the pilot phase, the plant should be able to produce enough fuel to run 200 cars annually. On top of creating clean fuel, the plant is also cheaper than a conventional sewage plant, making it doubly good for the town.
In order to create the fuel, the plant requires a lot of land — about 10 football fields when all is said and done — and a lot of sunshine. Chiclana de la Frontera fits the bill perfectly because of its sunny location and abundant land. Other cities in southern Spain have their eye on the project, and at least 300 other small towns have been identified that would also be ideal sites for a plant.
Does this mean even poop is a cleaner energy source than coal? Because that’s pretty awesome.