Mt. Everest is overrun with human feces. Each year during climbing season--which starts this week and runs through May--climbers leave an estimated 26,500 pounds of human poop on the mountain. For years much of the waste has been bagged by Sherpas and discarded in a village called Gorak Shep, that sits at 16,942 feet. But the pits there are getting full and the bacteria from the feces endanger clean water in the area. It's "become a problem that is causing pollution and threatening to spread disease on the world's highest peak," according to Nepal's mountaineering chief.
A senior engineer with the Seattle-based Mount Everest Biogas Project, Nate Janega wants to convert the human waste to methane gas. It's a common practice--cow manure is converted to fuel all the time--but the Everest elevation creates a challenge for the machines, called biogas digesters. The process needs a warmer climate than Gorak Shep can offer. So Janega and his team are building a new model biogas digester that will maintain the heat it needs through solar panels and insulation.
[Try The All-NEW Amazon Echo Dot]