Biogas ? clean energy from cattle dung
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CTA. 2008. Biogas ? clean energy from cattle dung. Rural Radio Resource Pack 08/3. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57408
Cooking and lighting from home-made gas
Biogas ? clean energy from cattle dung Cue: The burning of animal dung as a source of energy is often criticised for removing valuable nutrients from farming systems. However, there is a way that farmers can get energy from livestock manure and still use it as a source of fertility on their fields. When manure decomposes it releases a natural gas ? a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide ? which makes an excellent and clean fuel for cooking and lighting. In India and China this ?biogas? is used by millions of small farms, helping to improve farm sanitation as well as providing a low cost source of energy. In Africa, Uganda is leading the way in the adoption of biogas. Even here, however, it is still quite rare. Wambi Michael recently travelled to Mukono district to meet Ruth Musoke, one of Uganda?s biogas pioneers. IN: ?Madam Musoke, you are one ? OUT: ? delay the less fire you get.? DUR?N: 5?23? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Ruth Musoke, one of Uganda?s biogas pioneers, talking to Wambi Michael. The interview comes from a resource pack produced by CTA. Transcript Michael Madam Musoke, you are one of the few farmers within Mukono who are using a biogas digester. How did you learn about the biogas digesters? Musoke We have a friend called Pastor Kakembo, he came and visited our place, he suggested to us that we can install a biogas system at our place because we had cows and he had the same system at his place. So we went to his place and we admired the system. So he is the one who gave us the technical person who did the work for us. Michael When did this begin? Musoke That was almost 8 years back. Michael And has it been working throughout 8 years now? Musoke Yes, very successfully. We normally use it for cooking and lighting. We get light from biogas and then fire. Michael So let?s go back to where the process begins. I can see this hole here, what is it for? Musoke This one is for the collection of urine from the main building where the cows stay throughout the day, but it was not enough, the urine was a lot so we had to construct another pit where the urine collects up. And that one it is more comfortable because it is where we do the mixing. Michael How do you mix the cow dung into the digester? Musoke At that system, there are two bowls which are prepared for the mixture. So we get urine from the pit and then we collect cow dung from the place where we keep the animals, and then we mix it up, pour it in the main digester. That is how it is done. Michael We have heard reports that you need 19 kgs of cow dung daily to feed a digester. Where do you get the 19 kgs of cow dung? Musoke Me, I have almost 9 animals and I normally use 2 wheelbarrows of cow dung to get the biogas I need for my home consumption. Michael Do you have some excess of cow dung which you don?t use because you have many animals? Musoke Yes, I have a lot of it. Because what I have, I can?t mix it up on a daily basis. We collect cow dung in the morning and in the evening. So we have a reserve pit again, where we keep this cow dung, the one which is not used up for biogas system, and it is normally taken up by those farmers and other people who have the system and don?t have access to cow dung. Michael Can we go to the fireplace and see how it works? Musoke Yes. Michael In most times when you come to a kitchen like this in rural areas in Uganda, you see a lot of soot, but I can see here it?s very clean. Musoke Yes and it?s because I?m using fire from biogas. Michael Because normally entering such a kitchen would mean that maybe we would see some tears coming out of you! Musoke I don?t think it?s so clean, but that?s how it is. Michael OK. I see very clean fire coming out of the gas plate. Where is the fire coming from? Musoke It is coming through the other pipe and these are the switches. Michael Which means you can cook two saucepans of food on this same gas plate? Musoke Yes, according to your plates. It can go up to three or four, it depends on what you want. Michael So can you switch it back on? So how long does it take to boil such water? Musoke It depends on the amount which you want, because now it is at the maximum. You can reduce, depending on the type of fire you want and on what you are cooking. Michael How clean is the biogas? Musoke Whatever you prepare is so clean, even the saucepan, they don?t get stained. Blue flames only, which doesn?t stain. And the maintenance is so low, just to repair the other plate, because they get stained. That thing is done in Katwe. Michael Does it rust? Musoke Yes. For instance you are cooking something, what you are cooking pours on it and then that metal part of it rusts. That is the main problem with it. But I have changed it ever since it was there only two times. Michael What about the digester, does it require some maintenance? Musoke Ever since we installed it we have never done any maintenance, but what you need to do, you have to be committed in mixing this. You become so smelly on the day when you do the mixing. That?s why some people don?t want that business. But here it is done, we regularly do it. I do it, my children do it, everyone who is on duty does it. We don?t employ someone to mix for us. Michael Many Ugandans have heard of the biogas but many fear the installation costs. How much did it cost you to install this system in this farm? Musoke We used almost 2.5 million to install the system. Michael And you think you have reaped some money from the 2.5 million shillings that you initially invested here? Musoke A lot, I have saved a lot, because what gets out of the system? They come here, those ones who are doing the business of the gardens and what, they get that waste from me and they give me some money. What matters most is for someone who is using this biogas to be active in mixing. The more you mix the more fire you get, the more you delay the less fire you get. End of track