Biogas occurs when organic material, such as manure or even simple kitchen waste, breaks down because it has been deprived of oxygen. The mixture that develops is about 70 per cent methane and 30 per cent carbon dioxide with a few other trace elements. The result is a valuable source of fuel that can be used for cooking or running certain types of engines. If you want to get on the biogas bandwagon, you can construct your own biogas plant at home.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Large ball-shaped vessel
- Low-power pump
- Organic waste
Set up the barrel as the digester. This is where you will place the daily waste supply, so this vessel must be large enough to contain the waste and ferment it. The barrel should have some room at the top for the gas to form. Temperature is an important element in adequately fermenting the waste into biogas, so you may want to place the unit partially in the ground to keep the temperature around it as constant as possible.
Add the large ball-shaped vessel as the central storage unit for the gas. Be sure this storage vessel is rounded so the gas can move safely. It is usually recommended that you place the storage unit at a higher elevation than the digester, so the gas can be pumped upward.
Connect the pipes and the low-power pump from the barrel, where the scraps are fermenting, to the storage vessel. The pump will help to move the gas to the storage vessel where you can then connect it to your home as a fuel source.
Place scraps and waste into the digester and allow it to ferment for at least eight hours. Smaller pieces of scraps will decompose more quickly, so if possible break the scraps into pieces.
Tips and warnings
- The first gas produced when the scraps and waste begin to ferment is nitrogen, so be sure to vent this out safely.
- Because biogas is largely methane, take care when you are handling it, and be sure you understand the properties of methane. Biogas is safe for use and is widely recommended as a home fuel source, but you should always be familiar with the different qualities of the gas before starting the homemade biogas plant project.
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