Engineers Without Borders Assist Tonga with Biogas
Scoop Independent News, New Zealand, Tuesday, 17 March 2009.

"Engineers Without Borders New Zealand (EWBNZ) is an organisation of
professional and student engineers who share a vision to confront global
challenges of poverty, sustainable development and social inequity by
undertaking projects that will directly improve the quality of life in
communities within New Zealand and in the South Pacific region. From the
4th-18th December 2008 a team of volunteers from EWBNZ travelled to
Tonga to build two biodigesters with locally available materials and
labour that would demonstrate the feasibility of this technology to
benefit Tongan communities.

Biodigesters are low pressure, warm temperature anaerobic reactors that
convert common biodegradable wastes into flammable methane-based off gas
dubbed “biogas”. Biodigesters offer a triple benefit: to treat wastes,
produce gas that can be used for cooking, lighting, and electricity
generation, and to produce nutrient rich fertiliser.

The team that was assembled from EWBNZ’s volunteer base had five months
part-time to research and design a suitable biodigester system before
travelling to Tonga to implement the design. This groundwork produced
excellent results, and the team was able to recommend and develop the
detail for two separate designs, a Chinese design and a polyethylene bag

Once the 2 biodigesters were completed and tested the team spent the
last few days educating the owners on the operations and maintenance of
the biodigesters. They also provided the farmers with material to give
to other Tongan’s interested in implementing a biodigester system as
they are very keen to help spread this technology in Tonga."

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).
BioEnergy and Sustainable Technology Society