Pump Power: How Many Farts Would It Take To Power Your Home?

I’m sure you’re all absolutely gagging to know, so lets crunch some pump numbers.

We all use gas, pretty much all day, every day. We use gas in our homes to heat our boilers, to warm our radiators, to cook our food. A majority of electricity we use also comes from gas turbines (42%).

Yet we all know that fossil fuels are killing the planet. We’re not going to go on a world saving rant, but we’re going to need alternatives. Sure there’s solar, sure there’s wind, sure there’s hydrogen. But it’s the entire planet we’re talking about, surely we should be exhausting every route here, and I’m fairly confident that scientists might have missed this one.

We’re all gas machines. We parp out little guffs of potential energy throughout each day. If we could harness this free energy, could it save the world? First we need to establish the worst offenders.

The Best Candidates for Pump Power

One thing we’ve learned immediately when researching and planning this post, is that there’s doctors that exist called “Flatologists”. These are doctors who’s sole job is to study the passing of gas, and we salute them.

They’ve determined that women fart more than men, and vegetarians fart more than non-vegetarians. So the worst offender for breaking wind as a demographic, is vegetarian women.

Not everyone is a vegetarian woman though, so we’re going to work on averages here. The average human bottom burps roughly 13–21 times per day, which is way higher than I expected personally, but you can’t argue with the science or with our heroic Flatologists.

Something tells me that powering the planet with our trumpet trousers might be difficult, and I think our diets would have to shift if we’re going to heat the UK using our One Cheek Squeaks. I’ll crunch the numbers using 21 as our average toots per day.

So How Much Potential Energy Is Involved in Cutting The Cheese?

With our Google Search History ruined, we’ve discovered a post by Houston Methodist which states the following as a chemical make up of flatulence:

“ It may contain odorless gases, such as nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane, but a small portion includes hydrogen sulfide, which causes it smell like rotten eggs. Think of hydrogen sulfide as the waste of the microbes helping you digest the indigestible.”

So for the useful gasses, we’ve got:

– Nitrogen
– Oxygen
– Hydrogen
– Carbon Dioxide
– and Methane

Only Hydrogen and Methane can unfortunately be used for combustion and have their energy harnessed. What a waste of our Blueberries.

Going from available Energy Density Data, Hydrogen has an energy density of 2.8 watt-hours per litre, and methane 10.5 watt-hours per litre. Therefore with an average fart being around 90mL, it means the average human fart is 0.11025 watt hours of potential energy!

Let’s break it down by appliance.

Kettles:

Most people boil the kettle around 4 times per day. If you’re making 2 cups of coffee or tea at a time it’ll take around 4 minutes, so 16 minutes per day.

16 x 365 gives us a yearly boil time of 5480 minutes, or 91 hours. If your kettle’s using 2kw per hour, that’s 182kws used, or 182,000 watts. So if each break of wind is 0.11 watts of energy, we’d need to fart around 20,020 times per year to power the kettle.

Next up is the Microwave:

The average microwave is around 900w. Let’s say you heat something in them 4 times a week for 5 minutes each time. That’s 20 minutes a week, 1040 minutes per year, 17 hours per year. 900 watts for 17 hour is 15.3kw or 15,300 watts. You’d only need to cut the cheese 1683 times, which honestly might be the most achievable goal in this entire list.

The Television:

Let’s say you only watch tv for 4 hours per day (haha). That’ll be around 50kWh per year, or 50,000 watts which equals about 5,512 trouser trumpets. Realistically if you want to treat yourself to a takeaway while you watch tv, depending on where you go this one might also be achievable. Might be hard to s̶q̶u̶e̶e̶z̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶k̶e̶t̶t̶l̶e̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶r̶e̶ ̶t̶o̶o̶ ̶t̶h̶o̶u̶g̶h̶ also provide enough flatulent for the kettle too though.

The Washing Machine:

This is where things start getting inhuman, or superhuman, or superhero depending on how you look at it. (Marvel if you’re interested, I’ve copyrighted “Captain Parp” and “Doctor Danger Fart” but I’ll let you buy it.) Your washing machine will use typically around 166kWh per year, or 166,000 watts. That’s 18,301 bum exhales. Frankly staggering.

The Fridge Freezer:

there’s a lot of scope for fridge freezers out there. If you go for an A-rated model it’ll require 200Kwh per year — meaning you’ll have to Answer the call of the wild burrito approximately 22,050 times. Older and inefficient models could use as much as 480kWh per year, requiring 52,800 answered calls.

The Cooker:

In the average UK humble abode, the cooker will need around 317kWh. If you wanted to use your Back Drafts to heat your food (I’m a bit grossed out by that honestly), it’ll require almost 35,000 of them.

The Tumble Dryer:

In our second to last spot for Mighty Duck Call powered appliances — the tumble dryer will set you back almost 44,000 of them as it requires 394kWh per year!

Central heating:

The main one, the big dipper, the whopper. To power your boiler, to heat your radiators for the entire year based off of average usage, it takes 13,600kWh. This means if you want to stay warm, you’re going to have to stink it up almost 1.5million times throughout the year. Frankly, a disgusting amount of effort and junk food would be needed.

Maybe a human digestive system isn’t enough to keep your house warm. Could anything else?

Cows produce between 250–500L of methane per day. Cows are responsible for 2% of climate change, ridiculous.

So let’s go for 375L of Methane per day, and 10.5 watt hours per litre. That gives cows the ability to produce 3937 watts per day. 3.9kw. From Cow Guff. I focussed on the wrong animal in this post, everyone just needs a pet cow. Let’s do the maths before you start leaping into farmer’s fields though. Each cow can produce 3.9kWh per day, or 1423kWh per year.

Kettles: 182kWh per year, meaning you can have almost 8 Kettles per cow with their yearly bum rattles.

Microwaves: 15.3kWh per year, you could eat microwave meals 193 time more often using a cows home brewed whiff.

Televisions: 50kWh per year, you could have 28 TV’s running for four hours a day if you’ve got a cow Trunk Bunking in the back garden.

Washing Machines: 166kWh per year requires your cow to split the seams 8 and a half times less than average, so worry not about running the dryer too — your cow’s got Pop Tarts to throw away!

Fridge Freezers: 200kWh means you could run 7 fridge freezers per cow in your back garden.

Cookers: 317kWh per year means you can cook 4.5 time more frequently using your little cows hot wind.

Tumble Dryers: 394kWh per year means you can dry your clothes for the fun of it — 3.6 times more often for a single cow to be specific!

Central Heating: 13,600kWh is a rather large number, and while our pet cow and its honest and well earned Fire in the Holes have us covered so far, maybe not for our central heating. It turns out that we’re going to need 9 and a half cows all working hard to provide that Brown Haze in order for us to stay warm.

I’m not a farmer, but I think keeping 10 cows in the back garden might not be so hard if you’ve got a decent chunk of grass out there.

Please note: all figures are based on statistical averages and do not account for above or below average flatulence and/or appliance usage.

Finally just as a good to know fact, you’d require a lot less booty belches for your central heating if your home was fully insulated. Cavity wall insulation could but your bills by up to 35%, and loft insulation could do the same by 25%. We might still be using gas for a little while longer until I can get on Dragon’s Den, so it’ll be wise to invest in your home now, to reap the savings in energy bills for up to 40 years or more. What if I told you that you could insulate your home for free?

Save money and insulate your house for free with Titan! Apply online for ECO4 at www.titanenergysolutions.co.uk

And I’m not talking about any DIY hacks involving hanging up curtains on your walls.

The Energy Company Obligation is a scheme in the UK put in place by the Government that forces leading Energy Suppliers to contribute to a £1 billion pot per year for the next 4 years.

The pot’s there for homeowners to improve their home’s energy performance. It’s running on EPC’s, which are energy Performance Certificates. You can check yours here: Check My EPC

Homes in bands D and E have to become a Band C.

Homes in bands F and G have to become a Band D.

Titan Energy Solutions is a company working on behalf of the energy suppliers who’ll help you reach these bands. They’ll install Cavity wall insulation, Loft insulation, Solar panels and Air Source Heat Pumps in order to make your home more efficient (and cheaper!) to run.

You can apply for the ECO4 grant here.

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