msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 7/7/2011 2:57:16 PM ET 2011-07-07T18:57:16

Officials in a Phoenix suburb are considering a plan that would turn dog waste collected from an area park into a green energy source.

Don't pooh-pooh the idea before you hear it out.

The city council in Gilbert will decide next month whether to go ahead and have Arizona State University students design and create a "dog waste digester" that releases methane gas, the Arizona Republic reported.

The methane would run a street lamp first, and possibly other uses later.

Dog owners would put the remains in a biodegradable bag, drop that into the digester and then turn a crank to stir the mixture and get the process started.

ASU professor Kiril Hristovski, who would supervise the students, said the digester would use Arizona's abundant sun to break down the fecal matter into a gas.

"The principals of anaerobic digestion are the same," he said. "We're going to challenge the students to come up with innovative solutions that are unique."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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