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#327889 - 03/12/09 02:32 PM Low Cost Biodigester
Marty Offline
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
Belmopan - 11 March, 2009

Through the partnership of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Belize Audubon Society (BAS), small and medium sized farmers are benefitting from the installation and use of the Biodigester as a low cost alternative energy source.

The first phase in Biodigester construction and use was initiated with a “train the trainer “course conducted by Mr. Gerardo Umana from the EARTH University in Costa Rica. The course started with a theory session at the UB campus at Central Farm in which the Biodigester was introduced and the basic construction was detailed. This will be followed up with the installation of the biodigesters at Central Farm and Yo Creek Agricultural Stations, San Antonio and San Marcos in the Cayo district, Maskall and Crooked Tree in the Belize district and San Antonio in the Orange Walk district. In the next phase, additional biodigesters will be installed countrywide.

The Biodigester (called the worm), is a tubular structure made of polyethylene plastic which is placed in a pre dug pit. The purpose for this is for the anaerobic fermentation of organic materials such as manure from pigs, cattle, sheep and other wastes. The bacteria in turn decompose the organic material to produce methane gas (which can be used for cooking, powering small engines, refrigeration and lighting) and organic fertilizers. This reduces the possibilities of contaminants getting into the environment, gives farmers an alternative source of fuel and provides organic fertilizers, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers and significantly reducing the cost of production.

The construction of the Biodigester is quite simple. The Biodigester being built is a low cost system designed for small and medium sized farms and it’s made of a tubular plastic bag and other basic parts found in your local hardware and mechanic shop. These basic parts include a few feet of pvc pipes, a few elbows and connections, used bicycle tubes and recycled buckets. The cost of material is little under $300 Belize dollars and if properly cared for, this unit can last up to 10 years.

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#328260 - 03/14/09 06:41 AM Re: Low Cost Biodigester [Re: Marty]
Short Offline
Bio-Digester Turning Manure Into Butane

Butane prices have subsided but an innovative new recycling program will have Belizean farmers using a free substitute. And the best part is, they’re saving dollars by making methane from cow dung! The cows are clueless about their waste being recycled, and so were we until we visited one of the installation sites. Here’s how it works.

Jules Vasquez Reporting,

This strange inflated bladder buried in this trench may look like some bizarre rural contraption, but it’s a very practical low cost energy solution which produces methane gas from animal waste.

It’s called a biogas digester, or those familiar with the technology just refer to it as the worm. The technology has been brought to Belize from EARTH University in Costa Rica. Yesterday Costa Rican Technicians were at this farm in Maskall Village demonstrating the fairly simple installation which apart from the massive tubular structure relies on fittings that farmers can pick up art any hardware store.

Here’s how it works, the plastic tube is pitted into a trench and all the animal waste is then funnelled in there.

Gerald Tillett, Farmer - Crooked Tree Village

“I raise pigs so in the past I usually the waste from the pen and throw it on the field with my wheelbarrow but now according to them, but they only use fresh manure, so according to them I have to continue taking the old stool and put it on the farm again so they will only use daily fresh manure.”

That fresh manure is left to decompose and the breakdown process produces methane – and that’s where animal waste turns into real savings because the methane cane be used for cooking.

Maximiliano Ortega, IICA
“This digestion unit you see here is for an average family of six and on quick calculation a family of six per year is nearly close to $300 worth of butane. Now this system also costs $300. So after a year it pays for itself because this unit is able to produce close to 7 to 18 hours of gas to cook. So that’s a lot of money saved.”

But to get the gas out, the farmer has to put the waste in and that’s where a minimum of livestock comes in.

Maximiliano Ortega,
“To begin with we need a minimum of three animals; maybe one cow, three pigs, or a combination. Once you start feeding, thirty to forty five days after it starts to produce the methane for cooking and once you keep on feeding it, for example you have a pig pen, you have to clean your pig pen daily with three pigs, all that manure you mix it with water and that’s what goes into the system. Once it starts operating you’ll have your daily supply of butane going.”

Which means daily savings for farmers.

Lloyd Flowers, Chairman of the River Valley Livestock Co-op
“I think it is definitely going to help farmers a lot because especially in terms of the high cost of the butane these days. It is going to be very effective in helping the farmers in the communities.”

Fortunato Noble,
“How about the waste?”

Lloyd Flowers,
“Well waste is a big problem within all the villages throughout the area and as what the gentleman was explaining a while ago concerning whatever type of waste you throw in it turns to gas – it definitely will help a lot.”

Maximiliano Ortega,
“This is a technology that I hope people will readily accept and embrace, especially farmers in rural areas and especially with the rising prices of everything.”

Lloyd Flowers,
“Especially in my area I will encourage people to turn to this and let’s save some money and the environment and to put the kids to school with the extra change.”

Materials for installation cost $300.00. The program spearheaded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries with assistance from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture and the Belize Audubon Society. In this first round of installations, Biodigesters will be installed at Central Farm and Yo Creek Agricultural Stations, San Antonio and San Marcos in the Cayo district, Maskall and Crooked Tree in the Belize district and San Antonio in the Orange Walk district. In the next phase, additional biodigesters will be installed countrywide. In Costa Rica, biodigesters are used in urban settings and even for hotels where their fuel is used to power industrial dryers.

http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=13570
_________________________
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