Toronto’s ZooShare recently broke ground on North America’s first zoo-based biogas plant. The plant will convert manure from the animals of the Toronto Zoo and food waste from a major grocery retailer into fertilizer and energy. A biogas plant captures methane and other GHGs emitted during the breakdown of organic matter in an oxygen-free environment (i.e. anerobic digestion) and stores these gases until they are fed through a combustion engine to generate heat and electricity. The solid waste that is left at the end of the production process can be used as fertilizer.

The 500kW facility is expected to produce a third of the Zoo’s electricity demand and reduce CO2 emissions by 10,000 tonnes. The project is being funded through the sale of Community Bonds. The ZooShare plant is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2016. The Detroit Zoo also has plans this year to install a biogas plant fueled by the more than 400 tonnes of manure generated annually. The energy produced will be used to power its animal health complex.