Whilst researching the eco projects, I came across something that I thought was incredible. It is called biogas. Let me explain.
There is a website called indiegogo where people can put projects on, and raise funds. I often check it out, as there are some innovative projects on there. One of them caught my eye in particular – it was a unit that converted kitchen waste, animal waste, even human waste into gas for cooking! The main attraction was that these units could be set up anywhere in the world, and the poorest or remotest people could use gas for lighting heating and cooking. I think the thing that caught my attention the most was a picture of a tribe of Bedouins who had a unit in the middle of the desert, which they were using to cook with, by putting their camel dung waste into it. They are hundreds of miles from anywhere, but they were using gas for lighting and cooking!
Think about that. People could start to grow their own food using an aquaponic system with re-circulated water, and then they could cook food using free gas – and the waste food would go back into the biogas unit to create more gas!
So I bought one of the units, which was about $1000. At the time of writing, we are still waiting for it to be delivered, which will be sometime later this year.
Then by chance, I happened to se a video on how to make your own biogas unit out of cheap parts, with the main part being readily available all over the world.
So if we as a company could supply the kits for a really cheap price, we could help lots of villagers in other countries have a better standard of living. How cool would that be?
The main unit consists of something called an IBC, which is a big container made of plastic and protected by a metal cage. They are used for all sorts of things by manufacturers of produce – things such as honey, olive oil, sunflower oil, etc. Farmers, equestrian people and smallholders etc. also use them in the fields where they need a storage tank for drinking water for animals. You can pick them up on ebay for about 50 pounds as they are discarded after their initial use. This was recycling at its purest, with the IBC´s being made into gas producing containers.
The full system is easy to understand. Think of the IBC as an animals stomach, fed through tubes. The food goes in, gets chewed up, and a gas is produced (like an animal farting to be more concise)
This gas is then stored in a balloon, which can be anything, such as an old blow up lilo. It is then attached to a gas ring, and you’re cooking on gas….
I was really impressed when I saw a video of an Indian peasant on an old bike with a big balloon of gas on his head, transporting it to his family in the next village for them to cook with.
The other benefit is that it also produces the ‘poop’ like an animal, only it is liquid gold which can be used as fertiliser for gardens, or in hydroponic systems instead of the expensive nutrients that you need to buy.
So we did no more than build our own system in the basement, where it is constantly warm. We bought an IBC, and Javi then constructed the biogas system using ordinary plastic tubing and bits. This is the prototype for our IBC kits which we hope to send out around the world, for poorer people to get a better quality of life, with cooked food in their bellies – or even just boiled water to kill off the deadly bacteria in it.
Again, this raises the question: is it safe? Won’t it blow up?
It is actually as safe as houses. The gas will not ignite unless you are a few inches from the cooking stove with the gas full on. Anything above that, and it dissipates into the air. There is no danger of the balloon blowing up either. It is actually safer than the gas you use in your home – and it is FREE.
So we decided to make our own biogas unit in order for us to send kits to villages in poorer countries to help them have a better quality of life. After weeks of trial and error, we finally produced a working model of the biogas unit for a fraction of the cost of the $1000 one, and as I write, we are starting to feed it with all sorts of food waste from the kitchen and the garden. We will let you know how we get on with it but the signs are good. Here it is, complete with me pretending to know what I am doing. We have actually wrapped the ibc in an insulation jacket, as it can get chilly here in the mountains in the winter. The ideal temperature for the unit to function is 24 degrees C so we felt it was better to be safe than sorry. The other thing is that the ibc needs to be painted black to prevent any light getting in, so we also sprayed that black first, which took about 5 minutes and a couple of spray cans. The paint will be included in the kits that we send out, but I don’t think there is a need for the insulation jackets in places like India. Apart from that, they cost about £200 each!
We’ll let you know how it goes. Lets move on!
To read more about the progress of our Spanish Dream Click Here