The time is ripe for Zambian farmers, big and small, to start generating biogas on their farms.
Farms are huge generators of biowaste, like animal dung, harvest residues, the odd rotten bale, a bad patch of silage, and vegetable and kitchen waste from the many family members and workers. There is no more need to regard this waste as a problem ‒ we can utilise it in a profitable manner, as well as for the greater good.
For large farms, sophisticated biogas systems are available to drive generators of 5 MW and upwards. As an added benefit, gas and organic fertiliser are generated to be applied where needed. The solution for small farmers is much simpler and easier. A family, or group of households, basically need two big containers with a few alterations and connections. One tank is used as a digester, where all the waste is put in and allowed to rot. The other tank is connected to the first to collect all the gas under pressure. The generated gas can be transported to a biogas adapted stove.
With an optimised system, two hours of cooking is possible on two kg of waste per day. Once in a while, the solid waste, or slurry, can be collected from the bottom of the digester. This is a very rich source of fertiliser. Biogas companies are actively developing and distributing small ready-touse units in Zambia and other developing countries. There is a significant cost involved, but it can be absorbed by a few families. Such systems will also pay for itself in a few years.
The beauty of these systems is that the reliance on wood to cook food drops significantly, which is a serious issue in this environmentally conscious age we live in. Cooking with gas on an adapted stove instead of an open fire or makeshift drum is also safer, neater, and more manageable.
This year is rapidly speeding to an end, and we shall remember it as a period of confusion, chaos, and disaster for many. May we never experience this again.
Our final edition for 2020 contains many articles with useful content to occupy your mind in a positive way for a while.
Du Preez de Villiers – email@example.com