minimizing water use with LIQUID RECIRCULATION
Biogas systems require end-users to mix cow manure (or other feedstocks) with water in order to create the proper feeding consistency for the system. Water must be available each and every day to ensure optimal system performance. When potential biogas customers - especially farmers in rural areas - learn of this requirement, they balk at the idea of mixing such a precious resource with excrement. Unfortunately, because these systems require large volumes of freshwater to function, the majority of biogas systems that have been installed in East Africa are abandoned within one year. Our team seeks to resolve this issue by developing and piloting a low-cost liquid recirculation system that vastly reduces water demand.
improving gas production with simple tank HEATer
Although existing biogas systems are simple and relatively inexpensive to construct, they are not very efficient and gas production remains relatively low for the volume of wastes used. We know that gas production increases when systems are heated. The microbial communities that produce gas are more active at higher temperatures. Our team is working to develop a low-cost heating element that will improve gas production in existing biogas systems.
Improving Stove Design and Performance
Schools and institutions across East Africa are installing biogas systems in record numbers. Unfortunately, the stoves that accompany these systems are designed to be used by residential customers for household cooking and they perform poorly in institutional settings. Based on our interviews with biogas end-users, we have identified dual-fuel (biogas+firewood) stove designs created especially for the high-demand kitchen settings in schools.