International News Desk – At Home: Animal Power – Around the World: Burger Lab

International News Desk – At Home: Animal Power – Around the World: Burger Lab

At Home: Animal Power

Electrical plants may be hazardous to the environment, and the smell of animal excrement may be offensive to human beings, but put the two problems together and you end up with a solution?a solution to the question of green power, that is.

As the CBC reports, ?a novel project at the Toronto Zoo . . . will turn manure into electricity for Ontario’s power grid, after a 50-day ?digestion? process.?

The energy plant, which is slated to begin construction in 2014, will operate ?by taking 3,000 tonnes of manure from rhinos and other large animals at the zoo as well as 14,000 tonnes of grocery store waste and breaking it down to produce a combination of electricity, heat and fertilizer.?

Daniel Bida, executive director of the project, told reporters that it will operate ?like a big concrete stomach.? During the two-month generation process, the waste will be broken down by bacteria and stirred constantly. The resulting gases will be ?burned to produce electricity.?

Recently project leaders signed a two-decade contract with the Ontario Power Authority, which means that this animal-generated fuel will be part of ?[the] power we all consume when we turn on the lights,? Bida told reporters.

Around the World: Burger Lab

On the other side of the technology spectrum, a Dutch scientist at the University of Maastricht has created what can truly only be described as processed meat: a hamburger grown in?wait for it?a lab.

As NBC News reports, August marks the debut of a hamburger ?made from meat grown in a culture dish.?

The project involved ?growing bovine stem cells in a vat, turning them into tens of thousands of thin strips of beef muscle cells, mincing them into tiny pieces, then putting them together with lab-grown animal fat to create a lump of ?meat.??

Hungry yet? The first taste of the burger is going to an anonymous benefactor, who underwrote the project in return for dibs on the first official taste. Though the donor paid $320,000, experts believe that subsequent tastes will be available for around $250,000.

Makes a Double Whopper sound like a pretty good deal all around.