This story illuminates both the reality and possibility of subsistence farmers. Biogas production is not high technology. It takes a cistern that can be made with a shovel and perhaps setting liner stones as is often done in a modern septic field. Capping this and drawing of the produced gas into a holding tank is simple and usage after that needs again fairly minimalist hardware that can be jury-rigged together.
The major requirement is to simply know that it can be done and that it will work. Recovery of the produced slurry later is unpleasant but no different than similar tasks attended to.
It is not a convenient way to produce enough gas for household heating, but certainly sufficient to support incidental heating for cooking and producing hot water in a healthy way.
In fact for most of the third world collecting human waste is not done. This makes it happen while providing an essential source of energy displacing wood.
It certainly takes a program to make this happen, and it should be done easily and cheaply. Two billion people need to be doing this.
Biogas brings 'green revolution' to rural
by Staff Writers
Nepalese villager Khinu Darai used to have to walk about five kilometres (three miles) every day to collect firewood so she could cook meals for her family.
Then two years ago, she bought a biogas plant under a government scheme to encourage villagers to convert to greener energy -- an event the 30-year-old mother of three says transformed her life.
"Biogas is a blessing for my family. These days I don't have to go into the jungle to collect wood," she told AFP outside her simple mud-brick home in the southern village of Badrahani.
"It is clean and safe, and we are healthier now as we are not breathing in smoke all the time."
In all, 82 households in Badrahani have bought biogas plants at heavily subsidised rates under the scheme, which is funded by the Dutch and German governments.
Biogas is a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide produced by feeding cow dung, human waste and water into an airtight underground tank known as digester and allowing it to decompose.
Environmentalists say biogas has huge potential in
This means they live in smoke-filled houses, causing respiratory problems, particularly for young children, while the destruction of forests is also a major cause for concern.
Badrahani is situated on the edge of the
"Biogas has brought a green energy revolution to the country," said Prakash Lamichhane, head of research at the Biogas Sector Partnership (BSP), the government agency in charge of installing the plants.
"We have the capacity to build 1.9 million biogas plants, but we have achieved just 11 percent of our target so far. We still have a long way to go."
Over the past two decades, BSP has installed around 210,000 biogas plants at a cost of around 350 dollars each, with the government covering a third of the price.
BSP says each plant reduces the country's already low carbon emissions by around 4.7 tonnes a year.
"We are helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 987,000 tonnes every year. It is helping us combat climate change," said Lamichhane, chief of the research department.
The biogas project has won plaudits as a rare environmental success in a country with one of the world's most polluted capital cities.
But BSP research and development officer Mahaboob Siddiki said it had not always proved easy to convert villagers.
"Because the gas is produced from cow dung and human waste, villagers thought it was impure, and that it would be shameful to cook food using it," said Siddiki, who has worked on the project since it began 26 years ago.
"Several times, we were chased away from some of the villages, but we never gave up," he said, calling the technology a "win-win situation" for villagers and the environment.
It is a view shared by Bibhimaya Tamang, a 45-year-old farmer from Badrahani who uses slurry -- a by-product of biogas -- to fertilize her crops, giving her higher yields and more income from the vegetables the family grows.
"Staying in a smoke-filled kitchen for hours was painful. It hurt my eyes and I used to cough a lot while cooking," she told AFP. "Using biogas has been so much better."
Sameer Thapa, coordinator of
"We have huge potential to benefit from carbon trading as we lessen the use of firewood, which releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere," said Thapa.
"Around 80,000 biogas plants are in the process of getting approval for carbon trading by next year."
Thapa said the proceeds would be used to install more plants, enabling the government to increase its carbon trading capacity further.
"Many developing countries in Asia and Africa have used our expertise to promote biogas, and many others are asking for our help," said the BSP's Lamichhane.
"Nepal has always been known as the land of mountains. Now, developing countries are calling us the land of biogas."
I am adding this newsletter to show a bit of Nepalese lifeway.
Hamro Gaun, our village!
The building of our new children home is in every respect a beautiful project. A small, but self full filling village in the
The house will be built in traditional Nepali look. So it won't be a concrete building, but an old fashioned Newari style house with big isolated walls. The house will be comfortable cool during the summer and in the winter it will be relatively warm. The first stage is made from concrete, with heavy foundation which will make the house strong, in case of an earthquake. One meter above the ground, the brick-work will be from clay. That is an old and proven technique, which is perfect when you use the good loam. The house is flexible, which is perfect for the expected earthquake. They expect a big earthquake in
The first phaze is to construct the head- of main building for Hamro Niwas on the right part of the big field. On the ground level will be two sleeping rooms for the disabled children. On the first floor are two sleeping rooms for the small children. Beside the dining hall, computer classroom, library and an office there will be kitchens which use the sun to prepare food. This is done by the big Scheffler solar-cookers. But on a rainy day this will not working, but for that we also have a very good solution, see further down!
New Contact Centre;
On the small ground, left from the small river will be the Contact Centre. That is a school for the poor children from the neighbourhood who can get their first education for free. The children also get tea and dhal bath everyday while attention class. The building of this Contact Centre is possible thanks to the big devotion of Foundation Maha Mata from
The second phase is to build near to the head-building, two small houses for the big children. One for the boys and one for the girls. In every house will sleep a care taker. In each house are four sleeping rooms, with two bunk beds, which make 16 children in one house. On top of each house there will be a solar heater with 300 lt. of water. The douches are with a water sparing shower. So there will be enough hot water on the roof and all the children can get a good hot shower. Our houses will be extremely basic, but with the things we think is needy.
There will also be a small technical building, where we put our installations, like water-pumps, water filters, current supplies and a fire pump etc. There will be a technical boy or girl from our job trainings project Jyoti in Pokhara, who will keep everything running.
Job training for young girls and women.
We planned a job training centre behind the Contact Centre. Especially for girls, disabled people but also for young women to learn a job. We have also planned a farm with cows, oxen, goats and chickens. These animals help us with the biogas production. There will also be a field with vegetables with lots of vitamins. In
A small water power station, hydropower!
There will be two big sun mirrors outside our kitchen, from 4 x 4 meter with a parabolic shape. This parabolic exists of a lot of small mirrors from 10 x 15 cm. All this mirrors together is one big reflector. All the sun they catch is one big sun beam on the kitchen wall and the cooking oven. The temperature in the focus is between the 600 and 1000 degrees Celsius. I think, they can make a big pan of rice with this. There are a few of this types built in
Nice idea, but what if there is no sun?
No problem, look here….!!
So beside our farm there will be a biogas installation. All the cow shit and the toilets end there. All this is mixed into to a fine pulp of shit. But also green garden detritus are possible in this well. The principle is fermentatation, and that makes gas. Methane gas, what otherwise disappear unused in the environment.
The sewer is drained un-purified on the Saint Rivers in
But what goes in must go out
But we have more nice things to tell you. Behind our field is a river. We would like to make a small cage in this river and put some fishes in. Those fishes love the “spinach soup”. And then….after a while the children can eat the delicious fishes from there own river. What else do they want?
More water saving projects
The water from the shower is going to a small septic tank. The dirt will sink and the rest of the grey water is going through a Cane filter. This clean and filtered water is going back to the river. The dirt from the tank will be digested to fertiliser. So we even use the dirt.
The Cane filter, also called Helophytefilter
We also save the raining water and use it when it is a drier period. We will build a big underground concrete tank, which we can close with a concrete top. We hope to save 100.000 litre of water in the rainy season. We can make a sport field on top of the tank. So we combine business with pleasure!
So, , this is it for now, our biological small village Hamro Gaun in
With Regards, Rene Veldt,
Stichting Veldwerk, actions speak louder than words.
If you have some reactions on this newsletter you can mail to mailto:%email@example.com%20?subject=nieuwsbrief%20juli%202005