Japan Scientist Uses Panda Dung to Create Power

April 28, 2003 by Jeff Shepard

Fumiaki Taguchi, emeritus professor of Kitasato University in Tokyo, Japan, and director of H2Japan, announced that he has developed an invention that would use Panda dung to create electricity. The device, to be ready by 2005, uses the refuse bacteria generated inside the panda's belly through digestion of tough bamboo leaves and shoots.

His research team selected five micro-organisms among the some 270 they discovered in the panda refuse; ones that were the most efficient at breaking down proteins, fats and could reproduce easily even under high heat. The team mixed the bacteria with 70kg to 100kg (150lbs to 220lbs) of raw garbage, such as vegetable stems, for 17 weeks in an industrial waste disposal machine. The result was that only 3kg of waste remained, while the rest had turned to water and carbon dioxide; far above the 80-percent efficiency of most commercial disposal bacteria.

"For every 1kg of waste, I can get about 100ltrs (26gal) of hydrogen," said Taguchi. "It won't amount to much electricity, maybe enough to power the exit lamps in an entire building. In the next year, we want to see if we can improve this."

H2Japan hopes to create a hydrogen fuel cell and waste disposal unit in one to sell to food processing companies across Japan.