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Cow Poop as Fuel Source? Village in Thailand Harnesses Unconventional Energy Source

Aug 08, 2016 04:27 AM EDT
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Villagers in Thailand are using an unlikely alternative source of energy: cow poop.

Thailand is known to be one of the big consumers of fossil fuels in Southeast Asia. But the residents of Pa Deng village, which is nestled in one of Thailand's rural forests far from electrical grids, are advocates of clean energy. Apart from using solar panels to light up their homes, they use cow dung to fuel their stoves.

Wisut Janprapai, 44, found out from a friend from Myanmar that cow manure could be used as fuel for a cooking stove. With no access to power lines, Wisut and his neighbors decided to give the idea a try.

According to Phys.org, nearly 100 families in the rural network are running their small stoves on blue bio-gas balloons fed with cow manure and other organic waste. The balloons made of polyester create methane gas after bacteria break down the organic wastes inside, and the methane powers the resident's stove.

The alternative fuel source is healthier and more sustainable than burning wood, and villagers will no longer need to look for kindling, a resident said.

Being an off-the-grid village, Pa Deng had only experienced its first spark of electricity 10 years ago when solar panels were installed in the village. The residents were instructed and educated about maintenance and repair of solar panels, trading their crops with academics in exchange for information on how to use renewable energy sources, Inhabitat reports.

According to Phys.org, successive governments have warned of a potential energy crisis in the country unless people start harnessing new power sources. Most of Thailand's energy is funneled to Bangkok, where some of its luxurious malls consume more energy than an entire province.

But the country is now investing in renewable energy sources and plans to increase its use of clean-burning fuels by 25 percent in the next five years.

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