Agence France Presse
Published — Monday 8 April 2013
Last update 7 April 2013 2:53 am
ORLEANS, France: Not content with housing a pair of celebrity pandas that attract hordes of avid onlookers, a zoo in France has decided to put their droppings to good use by recycling them into gas and electricity. Yuan Zi and Huan Huan — Chubby and Happy in Chinese — arrived at Beauval zoo in central France last year, on loan from China for 10 years at a cost of around a million dollars a year.
The zoo announced Friday it would build a facility that would process the dung of the two pandas and of other animals, as well as plant matter, to produce biogas that will then be turned into heat and electricity.
The plant, which will cost 2.3 million euros ($ 3 million), is expected to be operative in the spring of 2014. Some of the energy produced will be used to keep gorillas and manatees — also known as sea cows — warm in their pens, and to heat the building that houses elephants in the winter, allowing a 40 percent saving on the gas bill.
The rest will be transformed into electricity and sold to A French power company.