Aug 21, 2017

Another Interesting Form of Energy--Poop!

This blog has largely centered around my exploration of different solar projects. Things as small as a miniature solar-powered row boat to an electric field in Maryland that stretches as far as the eye can see.

However, I'd like to take this opportunity to focus on another form of renewable and dare I say, clean energy. It's poop.

With my colleagues at Vittoria Energy Expedition, I went to visit the Central District Wastewater Treatment Plant in Miami, FL. I've actually wanted to visit one of these plants for a long time. During my 5 years in DC, I longed to go to Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant.  But alas, my full-time job and their STUPID schedule was visit-prohibitive and I left DC wondering...

But a couple of weeks ago, my dream came true.

I've got a much more flexible schedule now, Vittoria's got solid connections, and the good people working for Miami-Dade County were willing to organize a great tour of an enormous poop factory. Here are my big take-aways:

 - Don't through wipes down the toilet! All of our tour guides agreed that those things are a huge cause of blockage in the sewer systems (grease from restaurants is also really bad).
  - 33% of the electricity this poo-poo plant uses comes from the waste it processes! The plant requires electricity for lighting, temperature controls, pumping, etc. and it uses a lot.
 - Wastewater management is a huge deal, especially in Miami. The city will see an increase of both people and flooding in the next few decades.
- The plant is building up. We visited some of the super-important electronic controls and gases in the plant. All of these are being placed on foundations that are at least ten feet higher than the original systems built in the '50s. Miami is seeing a lot more storm surges and they can't afford to have one take out Central District Wastewater.

Check out more of the videos from our Florida Expedition on this sweet playlist!