Human Poop and Urine Provide Cheap Biogas Source in Uganda


Image courtesy of ctsnow

In developing countries - where food is scarce and reliable energy supplies are even scarcer - necessity often becomes the mother of invention; so it is in Uganda, where farmers have resorted to using human urine and excreta - mixed in with banana peels, algae, water hyacinth and poultry droppings - as an inexpensive source of biogas. This cheap alternative is being pushed by Heifer International Uganda (HIU), an NGO working to reduce hunger and poverty around the world by sharing livestock and knowledge.

In an effort to stave off the growing threat of deforestation in Uganda, HIU is working with several partners to build biogas plants; the inflammable gas is typically produced by bacteria in an air tight container called a digester. Biogas made from excreta contains 60 - 90% methane - enough for it to burn without further purification. There are currently three available plant models: floating, polythene tubular system and Chinese fixed dome - the latter of which is most commonly used by HIU's beneficiaries.

"It keeps the environment free of organic wastes, is convenient, time-saving and reduces smoke-related illnesses often associated with the use of firewood. If the majority of Ugandans adopted biogas, we would preserve our biodiversity. People should exploit decomposing raw materials, which are free. Biogas plant maintenance is not regular, constant energy, no load shedding, local technicians are available, appliances are now locally-made and there is no metering. Therefore, no monthly power tariffs," explained Patrick Nalere, the Heifer Project International country director.

In Uganda's Mukono district - where the technology is being used for cooking, lighting pressure lamps and in various engines - the residents are already reaping the benefits: Many are pulling themselves out of poverty and are using its byproduct, a "slurry," to enrich their soil, contributing to larger crop outputs.

Via ::The New Vision: Uganda: The Fuel in Human Excreta (news website)

See also: ::The Sucking Sound? Just A Little Biogas, ::Biogas-Powered Fuel Cell System Wins Big, Crowd Goes Wild, ::Everything Poops + Business Sees The Changing Climate = Crapitalism

Tags: Africa | Bacteria | Deforestation | Uganda

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