Feb 9, 2018: Cooking With Compost

In last week’s Newsletter I wrote about some developments in Waste-to-Energy Systems around the world. One of the systems I mentioned is called Home Biogas and, as the name suggests, it is a domestic system that takes organic waste like food scraps and even human waste, and turns it into odourless methane gas which is great for cooking. For a long time I’ve had dreams of building myself a simple system for turning our organic waste into cooking energy so it’s great to know I can go online and buy one for just AUD$520 plus shipping.

The Home Biogas 2.0 system is currently on sale for AUD$520 plus shipping. (Source: Home Biogas)

The Home Biogas 2.0 system is currently on sale for AUD$520 plus shipping. (Source: Home Biogas)

In response I received the following from a reader named Jyoti (who has lived with a Home Biogas system for about a year) which I thought I’d share with you in case you’re interested in getting one for your own place. (Here is another link to The Conversation article she is referring to in case you need a refresher).

I wanted to share my home biogas experience with you. I started using the same system that Samuel has, about a year ago and I must say it works very well. Gas is not produced under 20 degrees C. In winter supplementary heating is required but since our system is outdoors and we only used it during weekends in the cooler months (too dark by the time we got home in the afternoons on weekdays), it still gave me enough for weekly cooking. Wish I could do something about using solar energy in winter to heat up the system. It can be done but it is too complicated for me.  It is great during these summer days and we cook on it everyday.

We get fertiliser for our garden everyday too. I use kitchen waste from home (and work too when our composting systems there are full!) as input for the biogas system. These days we can go for weeks without putting out our rubbish bin. Like yourself, we had opened our home to demonstrate this for Sustainable house Day:https://sustainablehouseday.com/house/biogas-house/.

Home Biogas has a newer version now, a 2.0 version which is cheaper and simpler to install. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1846577405/homebiogas-20-transforms-your-food-waste-into-clea.

I called up our local council and EPA before I installed our system as I couldn’t find any laws about that but both only mentioned that I should be aware of the Clean Air regulations. Methane by nature is odourless and we burn it during cooking. As Samuel says in The Conversation piece, it is not much different to gas barbeques in backyards. One day I hope to see many more of these installations, may be even community ones that a few households could share and use the energy to light up a barbeque or street light.

Have you seen this article on street lights run by dog poo? https://www.techly.com.au/2018/02/05/poo-power-street-lamp-runs-doggos-dung/

Cheers, Jyoti

I emailed Jyoti back with the following question and comment:

Could you pipe the methane into the house so you could use it to cook inside?

I think it would be fairly simple to build a little solar tent or an insulated box around the digester to keep it warmer in winter.

Is this an insulated solar box built around Samuel's Home Biogas system?

Is this an insulated solar box built around Samuel’s Home Biogas system? I think it might be… (Source: The Conversation)

And this was her reply:

You certainly could pipe the gas indoors. I wasn’t sure if the system would work well and kept it as a standalone system. Lots of people around the world have done some ingenious things like connecting it indoors in such a way that biogas is used first and when that is over, LPG kicks in.

Solar tent or an insulated box (was wondering if that is what Samuel has around his system) sounds like a good idea. The innovator of the home biogas has solar panels installed on top of his system. Mine is not completely in the sun as I have to use my sun spaces for veggies and plants but all in all it works well. I am mechanically challenged and will take a while to work out some solution for winter days.

So there you have it… both Samuel and Jyoti are very happy with their Home Biogas systems and I think they both have the previous version 1.0. So my guess is that the 2.0 system currently available will work even better. I checked the pricing and, as part of a pre-orderdeal, for about AUD$669 you get the Home Biogas 2.0 digester plus:

The Pre-Order Exclusive Deal includes 5 FREE accessories 

  • Single-Burner Biogas Stove
  • Growth Boosting Beads
  • Filter for Fertilizer
  • Filter for Biogas
  • Insulating Foam Sheet

This sounds like a pretty good deal to me and I am seriously considering getting one for the Greeny Flat. I just have to check on the size of the system because we don’t have a lot of extra space around here. Plus, by the sounds of it, we would need to locate it in a sunny spot and build some sort of insulated solar box (like Samuel’s) around it because of our relatively cold winters. I’ll keep you posted.

P.S. I have no affiliation with Home Biogas 2.0, I just think it’s a good idea and I want to encourage others to consider this as an option for reducing their fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions.

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