LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for BEST-L Archives


BEST-L Archives

BEST-L Archives


BEST-L@LISTS.UFL.EDU


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

BEST-L Home

BEST-L Home

BEST-L  October 2011

BEST-L October 2011

Subject:

Biogas Offers Poor Country's a Cleaner, Safer Fuel

From:

"Dr. Ann C. Wilkie" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Dr. Ann C. Wilkie

Date:

Tue, 25 Oct 2011 16:54:59 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (153 lines)

Biogas Offers Poor Country's a Cleaner, Safer Fuel.

New York Times, October 25, 2010.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/26/business/energy-environment/biogas-offers-poor-countrys-a-cleaner-safer-fuel.html


“NEPALGANJ, NEPAL — In developing countries where domestic animals are
ubiquitous and sewage systems rare, biogas technology — in this case
methane derived from feces — can provide both valuable fuel and improved
sanitation. Unlike directly burning animal dung, the methane is
clean-burning and odorless. And the technology has benign byproducts:
reductions in deforestation and disease.

Dalla, a village of a hundred or so mud-walled, thatch-roof huts,
clusters along a narrow dirt road a few kilometers from the forests of
the Bardiya National Park in southwest Nepal. Buffaloes and cows lounge
under thatch lean-tos to escape the hot sun. But unlike typical
villages, Dalla’s approximately 550 residents use biogas for cooking in
place of wood.

Biogas can also work in urban areas and with human waste. A few hours
from Mumbai, a sprawling public toilet complex serving visitors to the
temple of the Indian guru Sai Baba generates enough biogas to provide
back-up power for the temple complex, which occupies almost a hectare,
or two acres.

There are clear environmental benefits to using biogas, for both forest
conservation and combating climate change. An average home biogas system
can reduce firewood use by about 4.5 tons each year, which translates
into 4 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the World Wildlife
Fund.

Jeet Bhadur Tharu, a 53-year-old farmer in Dalla, says almost all of his
family’s cooking fuel comes from methane piped into the kitchen from an
air-tight pit of dung and excrement dug beneath his backyard. In the hut
that is his kitchen, Mr. Tharu turns a valve on a narrow pipe and lights
a burner on the floor; a strong blue flame instantly appears. Before
using biogas, Mr. Tharu’s family of five needed five to seven kilograms,
or 11 to 15 pounds, of wood each day for cooking. The time-consuming
task of gathering wood fell to his wife and daughters who cook in the
small, unventilated kitchen.

More than 1.5 million people worldwide die each year from diseases like
lung cancer and childhood pneumonia caused by indoor air pollution from
unventilated cooking fires, according to the World Health Organization.

In the Terai, Nepal’s thickly forested south, 61 percent of the people
rely on wood for cooking, as fuel like liquid petroleum gas is too
expensive for them, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Meanwhile
there are 4.5 million cattle in the Terai that produce tons of dung each
year. Most rural areas lack sewage systems.

Given this equation, it is not surprising that the government of Nepal,
through its Alternative Energy Promotion Center, has helped build
200,000 biogas systems across the country and has set itself an
ambitious target to eventually reach two million. The World Wildlife
Fund supported the construction of 7,500 of the existing biogas systems
in Nepal, including the ones in Dalla village.

  The technology for a home biogas plant is simple and low-tech. Dig a pit
ranging in size from 4 to 10 cubic meters, or 140 to 350 cubic feet (the
average size is 6 cubic meters), line it with concrete and fit it with
an air-tight concrete cover. Place animal dung and water into a round,
concrete mixing bowl. A metal crank blends the concoction and pushes it
into a pipe that feeds into the underground pit. Nearby, build a simple
latrine made of concrete and bricks; gravity and water push human
excrement into the same pit threough a pipe.

Deprived of oxygen, the waste mix decomposes, giving off methane, which
flows under its own pressure into a narrow PVC pipe leading into the
kitchen.

Another byproduct of this anaerobic process is pathogen-free manure,
which flows out of the pit when it fills up, and can be used by farmers
as fertilizer.

Ugan Manandhar, program manager with the World Wildlife Fund in Nepal,
says biogas systems require little maintenance and are safer than
combustible tanks of liquid petroleum gas. Villagers are taught to use
only dung and water in their biogas plants — no chemicals or plastic
should go into the pit. They are given a basic training to fix faulty
pipes, though Mr. Tharu says there have been no problems with his biogas
system since its installation two years ago.

Still, biogas systems are expensive for “middle poor” people like Mr.
Tharu. It costs about $550 to build a home biogas system, including
quality-control audits and a toilet. Most of that expense is paid by a
combination of government subsidies and financing programs for villagers.

For now, biogas systems do not work in the colder conditions of Nepal’s
Himalayan ranges, since the bacteria involved need warmth to thrive and
multiply. Mr. Manandhar of the World Wildlife Fund says research is
being done on insulation for biogas plants that could function at higher
altitudes.

On the other hand, biogas plants can work well in urban areas, where
their waste treatment role makes them doubly useful. Since 1970, Sulabh
International, a nongovernmental organization based in Delhi, has helped
build more than a million affordable latrines, which work without
running water. Barely a third of India’s 1.2 billion people have access
to hygienic latrines, and hundreds of millions have no choice but to
relieve themselves in the open, which easily leads to the spread of disease.

  Across India, Sulabh has built 200 biogas plants attached to toilets
that are approved by the Indian government’s Ministry of
Non-conventional Energy Sources. Some are powered by large public toilet
facilities used by thousands of people each day. The biggest is in
Shirdi, about four hours’ drive from Mumbai, which serves up to 7,000
people a day. The city is home to a temple devoted to the guru Sai Baba
that attracts up to 100,000 visitors a day. With funds from a trust
established by Sai Baba, who died in April of this year, Sulabh built
what it describes as an “aesthetically exquisite and visually appealing,
colorful toilet-cum-bath complex,” with 120 toilets and 108 “bathing
cubicles.” Biogas from human waste runs lights at the complex during
power failures.

Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh, argues that biogas technology is
inherently safe, and so far there have been no accidents from leaks at
Sulabh’s biogas plants, he says. The organization has also helped build
sanitary facilities in a dozen African countries including South Africa
and Ethiopia, as well as in Laos, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

In Kabul, where the city’s infrastructure is in shambles, five Sulabh
community sanitary complexes with biogas plants, financed by the Indian
government, were formally opened in 2007 in the presence of Mr. Pathak,
the mayor of Kabul, the Indian ambassador to Afghanistan and other
dignitaries.

The underground pits remain warm enough even during Kabul’s cold winters
for bacterial decomposition to continue, and the design has attracted
interest from U.S. Army engineers, who are considering building 40
similar complexes elsewhere in Afghanistan, according to Mr. Pathak.

“Biogas technology from human waste has multiple benefits: sanitation,
bioenergy and manure,” Sulabh emphasizes. And in Afghanistan, the
unlikely benefits of dung could include an unconventional aid to
diplomacy, too.”

-- 
**********************************************************************
Dr. Ann C. Wilkie                          Tel: (352)392-8699
Soil and Water Science Department          Fax: (352)392-7008
University of Florida-IFAS
P.O. Box 110960                         E-mail: [log in to unmask]
Gainesville, FL 32611-0960
______________________________________________________________________
Campus location: Environmental Microbiology Laboratory (Bldg. 246).
http://campusmap.ufl.edu/
______________________________________________________________________
BioEnergy and Sustainable Technology Society
http://grove.ufl.edu/~bests/
**********************************************************************

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LISTS.UFL.EDU

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager