A team of Scientists at Harbin Institute of Technology (yes, the same folks who play soccer with robots) have devised a way to put Shanghai’s ample supply of raw sewage to use before it gets dumped into the Yangtze River — they will use it to fuel our air conditioners:
Their device extracts heat from raw sewage that has been temporarily diverted on its way to the processing plant. It can also make air conditioning units run more efficiently, and absorb the heat they remove from buildings.
The device can reduce the cost of heating and air conditioning systems by 20 per cent, says lead researcher Sun Dexing, a professor in the environmental science department at Harbin Institute of Technology. It is also environmentally friendly as it produces no pollution and uses no chemicals.
“The device could replace traditional energy sources, such as coal, to provide air conditioning and heating for buildings,” says Sun, adding that it could be used wherever there is enough sewage, such as in hotels, apartment complexes and shopping plazas. …
By carrying the heat away in sewage on its way to be processed, the device could help relieve the ‘urban heat island effect’ in overcrowded cities of Southern China, such as Shanghai, says Sun.
Other countries have used sewage as an energy source, but according to Sun, they all use waste that has already passed through a processing plant, which is less practical and more expensive than the raw sewage he uses.
Hot shit! This got Shangahiist thinking bigger. Why not divert Shanghai’s aptly named Huangpu River — not too long ago described as a “chemical cocktail composed of raw sewage, toxic urban wastes, and huge amounts of industrial discharges” — and use its foul brew to power the whole damn city? That way Shanghai could actually afford to keep its “scenic lighting” turned on for the rest of the summer. And, really, what do we have to lose? It’s not like any plan involving raw sewage could actually make Shanghai smell any worse right now.