Pooping Power

ProfessorsPhoto courtesy of Wandering Gaia

Professors Carmen Felipe-Morales and Ulises Moreno at their guinea pig powered villa

The villagers of Pachacamac, outside Lima Peru, have been tapping into an amazing source of renewable energy to power their town. You may be surprised to find it’s the droppings from nearly a thousand resident guinea pigs. They’re not pets. They’re a creative power source developed by a team of scientists.

For this less developed corner of the world, expensive solutions aren’t the best option. Guinea pig poop seemed like the best alternative in an area where the animals already thrive and multiply. Two plant physiologists turned agronomists, Professors Carmen Felipe-Morales and Ulises Moreno, developed this practical application in their lab and studied it along side plant genetics in an effort to find affordable and fast solutions. The two scientists run a sustainable agriculture program at the nearby National Agrarian University of Molina. Their studies make a big difference to the residents in this small Peruvian town.

The professors have also found ways to optimize the vegetables for the local soil and climate. These methods have been used to develop a variety of organically grown fruits and cereals. As Ulises puts it, “We bring a lot of clever scientists here, who have spent their time studying plant genetics or researching different biochemical pathways for fertilizers, and we say ‘how about seeing right now if we can make a difference to farmers in Peru?’”

While guinea pigs are considered pets in Europe and North America, they’re a popular menu item for the people of South America. The two scientists house nearly a thousand guinea pigs here at their villa, set in gardens bursting with flowers, trees, vegetables and birdlife. These rodents are treated with the utmost respect and wheek, chatter, and popcorn as they feast on a special diet of enriched plants. The droppings are gathered at regular intervals and broken down inside a bio-digester into a brown liquid plant nutrient that Ulises jokes they call “Caca Cola” as well as methane gas. The methane gas is stored inside truck tires which can be easily moved and connected to the household gas line. This power is used for gas powered lightbulbs, gas stoves, and a gas powered generator for their tv and computer. The poop which was once tossed away is now a brilliant resource.

This remarkable living factory is easy to replicate and the scientists hope other Peruvian villages pick up on the lifestyle they’ve demonstrated. The efficient process is surprisingly free of any foul odor because much of the work is buried underground. The entire process produces more than enough for the family’s usage but also a substantial amount of growth hormone which can be sold.

If you have a great idea for an article about guinea pigs, please let us know. Guinea Pig Today is a network of guinea pig lovers and we’re always looking for the next great story. View our submissions page for more information on how to submit your idea.

Angela, Editor-in-Chief, GPT

Angela founded Guinea Pig Today and guest writes for CavyMadness. She volunteers with Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue and supports the ROUS Foundation. Her guinea pig, Papua, is the star of WHEK-TV/DT.

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5 Responses to “Pooping Power”
  1. Claire Lehmann says:

    All hail the mighty BEAN!!!

  2. Vegan Wheekers says:

    “…treated with the utmost respect” until they’re eaten? Yikes!
    My wheekers contribute their beans to our compost. 🙂
    P.S. Thanks for bring all these interesting articles to us that we don’t see anywhere else!

  3. mmeadow says:

    My composted food breaks down incredibly fast because of the guinea pig droppings.

  4. CGPL says:

    That is so completely awesome! Guinea pigs save the world!!! =oD

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