Cappagh, a large farming and quarrying area in the middle of Tyrone, has been heralded as an example to the entire planet after it emerged that 98% of the townland’s energy is powered by human waste due to its biomethane and general biomass initiative.
The project, which was accidentally started when schoolmaster Kenny McGrath passed wind whilst walking past a tilly lamp causing it to ignite, has saved the Irish National Grid £300’000 in under a year. Martina Mallon spearheads the Keep Cappagh Lit programme and told us it wasn’t all plain sailing:
“It took a long time for many families to synchronise their bowel and wind movements to maintain a continuous supply of power to their homes. Children and parents were under pressure to perform on the toilet when things were running low, sometimes just for a simple cup of tea.”
Leaflets were distributed to homes in the area advising on appropriate foods for spontaneous mass energy production as well as slow burners for long-term projects. Paul O’Neill, a father of 8, explained:
“We have a system going where the 4 eldest eat porridge and spuds. They maybe don’t go to the toilet too often, but when they do it’s a hefty haul and we use that for the washing machine or oven. The younger 4 eat a lot of fruit and stuff that goes right through you. We employ their waste for the continuous running of general electricity. Myself and Maura supply the biomethane by devouring beans 4-5 times a day and that looks after the heating. It gives you a fair grasp of energy conservation.”
The Irish National Grid have laid on bus tours of Cappagh for other villages, towns and cities to see how it’s done and are told not to pass judgement on the smell as it offends the natives.