N. Carolina Pioneering Human Waste-to-energy

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 24 (UPI) — A North Carolina county’s plan to burn human excrement for electricity is being watched nationwide, scientists said.

Cabarrus County plans to begin burning processed waste at its water-treatment plant as early as next year, and the project could be duplicated across the United States, the Charlotte Observer reported Sunday.


“All responsible water utilities are contemplating this as part of their future planning,” Robert Rubin, a retired North Carolina State University professor of biological and agricultural engineering, told the Observer. “We are looking at these societal byproducts as a resource.”

The newspaper said Mecklenburg County was drafting plans for a similar project authorized by a February court ruling allowing electric utilities to pay a premium price for waste-generated power.

Cabarrus County has incinerated waste for several years. The plan calls for a small steam generator to capture the heat from the burning and use it to generate around 1.5 megawatts of electricity, the newspaper said.

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