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US zoo using anaerobic digestion to reach 100% renewable energy goal

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Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) is using anaerobic digestion to reach its 100% renewable energy goal.

The Michigan, US-based zoo has already installed an anaerobic digester to divert 500 tonnes of herbivore waste and food scraps from landfill and convert it into energy and compost. DZS revealed in a statement that it has won four green awards for its sustainability initiatives and achievements.

Alongside its anaerobic digester, the zoo has also implemented solar and electric hybrid golf carts and bicycles for onsite transportation. It is also the first zoo in the US to install a Smartflower, a ground-mounted solar panel system that generates more than 4,000 KW of electricity annually.

It is hoped that the zoo will be powered by 100% Michigan-made renewable energy through Detroit energy firm DTE Energy’s MIGreenPower programme. The shift will offset 7,425 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 8,470 acres of US forests in one year.

Ron Kagan, DZS executive director and CEO, said: “Our commitment to sustainability is integrated into everything we do, from our environmentally-responsible operations to our community-wide education programs.

“Joining MIGreenPower is a major step forward for us, as our power needs significantly exceed what we can produce onsite. This program helps reduce our carbon footprint while also supporting local, Michigan-made renewable energy.”