On Monday, Dec. 22, a bill for the waste-to-energy project which will convert animal waste and human trash into energy, passed its second reading in a block vote 11-0 by city council.
“I think it’s really exciting. The Denver Zoo is one of the first in their zoo system and in the world to do this,” says City Councilman Albus Brooks.
Biomass gasification technology uses extremely high temperatures with little air or oxygen to thermally decompose waste, which is converted into energy, according to the Gasification Technologies Council.
Currently, the Denver Zoo brings waste to a landfill, but the waste-to-energy project allows the zoo to handle it right on site. The project is expected to save 1.5 million pounds in waste every year, according to Brooks.
Because the zoo borders the City Park neighborhood, residents have been concerned about air quality, noise and buildings constructed for the project. City Park Friends and Neighbors, the same neighborhood group that fought the City Loop Project, has spoken out against the waste-to-energy project.
Brooks said Denver Parks and Recreation has done a great job answering resident questions and easing concerns. This January, he is putting together a task force including the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, the Denver Zoo, Parks and Recreation, city council and one representative from every surrounding neighborhood to discuss ongoing concerns.
“Environmentally, this is where Denver needs to be heading.”