Biogas and How to Make a DIY Anaerobic Digester (Video)

Cows in front of a biogas plant

Faba-Photgraphy / Getty Images

Biogas and anaerobic digestion made number one in HowStuffWorks' list of wacky alternative energy, and poop-to-energy biogas projects have proven popular on Discovery News too. From biogas in Haitian slums to green gas being sold direct to UK consumers, there are plenty of examples of innovative projects turning biodegreadable waste into both energy and fertilizer. But how can someone at home get a piece of the action? The Urban Farming Guys have just released a great video showing how they built a DIY biogas digester using little more than some tanks, piping, rubber seals and a grinder. Oh, and a whole load of cow poop.

Biogas as Part of Urban Farming Vision

The Urban Farming Guys is the video blog element of an inspiring urban agriculture and community renewal in which 20 families uprooted from suburbia to farm in inner-city Kansas City. From aquaponics to vermiculture to the biogas project shown below, the focus seems to be on building replicable, scalable solutions that can be used around the world to create resilient, healthy and sustainable neighborhoods.

Building an Anaerobic Digester

But more than just building these things, The Urban Farming Guys are also dedicated to showing us how they built them, and having a little fun in the process. From cutting the tanks and piping, through ensuring air tight seals and managing the pH of the system, to dealing with the fertilizer byproduct, this is undoubtedly a useful video for anyone interested in trying anaerobic digestion or biogas for themselves.

Biogas and Its Benefits

I've written before about concerns from some quarters about biomass for energy projects, and what happens when waste becomes a resource. But it seems pretty clear that small-scale urban farm biogas digestion has great potential for gleaning energy from urban waste streams, recapturing valuable nutrients and returning them to the soil, and of course keeping rotting matter out of landfills, preventing both methane emissions and leaching in the process.

I look forward to more videos from these guys.