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2:05 am
Thu July 12, 2012

Waste Not, Want Not: Town To Tap Sewers For Energy

Brainerd Public Utilities' Scott Sjolund at a sewer site. Sewers around the city were monitored to gauge the amount of potential energy flowing through the system.
Conrad Wilson for NPR

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 11:21 am

Most Americans use electricity, gas or oil to heat and cool their homes. But the small city of Brainerd, Minn., is turning to something a bit less conventional: the sewer.

As it turns out, a sewer — the place where a city's hot showers, dishwashing water and organic matter end up — is a pretty warm place. That heat can generate energy — meaning a city's sewer system can hold tremendous potential for heating and cooling.

It's just that unexpected energy source that Brainerd hopes to exploit.

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