The Denver Zoo today will fire up a poo-powered tuk tuk as proof that human trash and animal feces can be converted to energy.
The three-wheeled motorized rickshaw — believed to be the first hybrid-electric gasified tuk tuk — is designed to showcase the innovative energy system that will fuel the Toyota Elephant Passage exhibit, which opens June 1.
"(The tuk tuk) can be a place for us to interact with guests about this great technology," said the zoo's sustainability manager, Jennifer Hale. "It was a good theme with the elephants."
Before the grand opening of the massive new exhibit, the rehabbed vehicle will go on the road, visiting other zoos in Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico before making an appearance at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' midyear meeting in Palm Desert, Calif.
The tuk tuk was purchased from Thailand and then re-engineered to run on gasified pellets made from animal droppings and trash generated by the zoo's human visitors and employees. It is the zoo's second prototype for the energy system. The first was a blender used to mix margaritas at an event.