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5 Responses to Alterna

  1. Lisa says:

    Cool stuff! I can’t wait to see how the two of you will take charge of life, the universe, and everything after your years of exploration, education, and volunteering. I love to learn more through your discoveries every time you post. Happy Christmas and best wishes for a continued adventurous new year. May it be filled with more wonderful discoveries and knowledge that you share.

  2. Tysa says:

    Wow Anna & Dave!
    amazing, how cool. How does one get the biofuel into the system? Can one convert a current gas system to this system and can you use the effluent in the garden? what is it when it comes out? Compost minus the fuel source? Is that still good for the garden. I know it is a small point , and not the point at all. Is anybody doing this on a comercial scale and can I implement this in VT do you think? Can it be used for heating and not just cooking? Are these too many questions?
    I hope you have a happy Christmas, we will be missing you in VT,
    My love and continual admiration for you and for these great guys – You are making a difference. WOW

  3. Dave says:

    Thanks so much Lisa! Happy Christmas to you too, we hope you’re well wherever you are right now!

  4. Dave says:

    Hola Tysa,

    The idea is that the organic matter goes into the machine and it decomposes there, releasing methane (a greenhouse gas far worse than CO2). The same would happen with natural decomposition in a field, with the methane released to the atmosphere. The difference is that here, the methane is captured and diverted to a stove where it is used for cooking. The remains of the organic matter is then harvested as a really rich fertilizer that you can dilute and spread on your fields. Genius isn’t it?

    There are people who do these things on an industrial scale – we just met a Dutch fellow who works for a company that does this in the Netherlands, actually. It is usually as a sort of waste management system, and then the methane can be used to generate electricity even. We also heard of a farm-scale system in Munich.

    There is one point we’re not quite sure on though, and that is warmth. The thing about these systems up north is that they need to be warm (decomposition comes from the living bacteria, and they need warmth to stay alive and active). So on an industrial scale it can work, but on the home scale it can be tricky to keep them working year-round, and sometimes they need some heating to keep them active through the winter, which starts to make them a little less efficient and interesting. But then, we’ve heard of people doing it, so maybe this isn’t such a big concern after all?

    Also, because it is a living system, the bacteria inside need to be fed regularly (like little pets kind of), and so you need a steady supply of at least 4kg (9lbs) of organic matter a day. So up in VT, you guys would need to pool together with other people on the property probably – or just get a pig. We vote for getting a pig, personally, they’re adorable!

    Never too many questions – we hope that helps clear things up a bit!


  5. Linda says:

    James, The section on the Biodigesters does offer the farmers in the warm climates an easy alternative for efficient fuel for cooking; plus eco friendly (cost effective) fertilzer for their fields. Way to go! Although I do compost kitchen scraps, in the northern hemisphere, it takes a long time to breakdown but it does enrich the soil. We all need to do our part to keep our air and water cleaner. Perhaps those who live in the warmer Southern part of the Globe, who are using your biodigester systems may in the end produce more fertizer than they can use. The extra remains of the organic matter which is harvested, could become an export – a rich natural fertilizer that could be diluted and spread on fields in the Northern hemisphere. Think about it… it does have far reaching possibilities. Thank you

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