Manure, other waste will power fair's midway

This is awesome and must be expanded. Can we use human wastes as biofuel or is it too contaminated?

By Michael Cass • THE TENNESSEAN • May 22, 2009

The Ferris wheel at the Tennessee State Fair will be running on an, uh, alternative energy source this summer.

The fair, which is trying to improve its reputation and draw bigger crowds, plans to use its 12,500 animals’ manure to power the midway this year. A mobile bio oil processor will convert all those cow patties, as well as hay, straw, bedding, corn stover and switchgrass, into 30,000 gallons of bio-diesel oil.

The oil will be mixed with methanol to fuel the midway’s generators throughout the fair, which runs Sept. 11-20.

“We’re turning poop into power,” said Chrysty Fortner, the fair’s marketing director.

The mobile bio oil processor will be the centerpiece of the fair’s environmental initiatives. Fair organizers are planning a green energy expo focused on environmentally sustainable technology and living.

Fortner said she found the mobile bio oil processor when she started looking for items to cut from the Tennessee State Fairgrounds’ budget so she could preserve advertising dollars in a reinvention year that could be the fair’s last at the existing site south of downtown.

She discovered the fairgrounds — which are owned by Metro government and stand to lose more than $1 million this fiscal year — had been paying $29,000 a year to have manure hauled to the landfill.

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