Dog poo lights up Boston

Conceptual artist Matthew Mazzotta has created a street lamp that uses methane gas from feces collected at a dog park in Cambridge, Mass. AOL Images.

David Moye, AOL News

The lamp, a shining example of how humans can make use of an underutilized and perpetually renewable energy source — feces — is the brainchild of Matthew Mazzotta, a conceptual artist who studied at the nearby Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who wanted to give back to the community.

Mazzotta says the Fido-powered flames are “eternal” and will “burn until someone or a group of people propose an idea to use the heat and light of the constantly burning flame and make a public project.” Methane digesters are nothing new. Mazzotta says they are common in China, India and South America where they are used mostly with cow manure, not dog poop.

“No one is taking account of all the methane produced by animals that live in cities,” Mazzotta told AOL News. “Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases — even more than carbon dioxide — but when it burns [it] separates into water and carbon dioxide.” Mazzotta was inspired to create what is now called the “Park Spark Project” after a trip to India, where he first saw the devices.

“When I came back, I saw whole bags of dog poop collected in bags and dumped in landfills,” he said. “I thought we should burn it, reduce it and make free energy.” So he proposed the idea to Cambridge officials and after six months of discussion, got the OK. After that, he got a $4,000 grant from his alma mater.

Since it seems to take a village to clean up all the dog poop, part of Mazzotta’s project is to have the community decide how to use the excrement energy. Mazzotta will be gathering ideas on how to best use the flame.

“Every dog park around the world should take their poop and do something with it.” It looks like that may happen. Ever since word got out about the poop-powered lamp, Mazzotta has been talking with people from all over the world who want the straight poop about his concept, including an official from a town near Paris, France.

Even better, he says, is how the lamp is affecting the locals in the dog park. “When people throw their poop in the digester, they now know their actions have implications,” Mazzotta said.

David Moye, AOL News

why didn’t anyone think of this before for dog parks?

over time, the dog poo’ will lower cities overall energy usage

and dependence in fossil fuels.

hats off to Mazzotta