Project Everest

Work Update

Application of generation of methane from biomass.

by
Caitlin Bloor
Caitlin Bloor | Jan 9, 2017 | in Knowledge Base

Fiji is very rich in biomass resources. They have more than 50% forest coverage rate and about 15% of the total land area is used for agricultural purposes.

  • However, the current environment of Fiji is not being used to its ultimate potential in terms of using its forestry as a resource for biofuel. So much of the land is left unused due to the land right disputes between the Indian Fijians and Native Fijians; on top of this religious values prohibit any mountains from being used for agricultural purposes.

  • So how can we find biofuel resources with the existing agriculture?

 

The report suggests Fiji needs to use what is has, not reinvent farms specifically for the purpose of biogas. There are a few organisations in Fiji that have specifically set up farms for the purpose of biofuel and selling the biomass based waste to the FEA for energy conversion. However, the January Fuel Assessment team have decided that there would be too many obstacles in coming up with a solution that involves collaborating with the FEA and thus believe it would be of more benefit to focus on cooking.

 

The December team interviewed some hotels in the coastal area of Sigatoka and found that some were open to donating their greens waste for biofuel purposes as long as it is collected for free. This green waste includes seaweed, coral, grass, leaves and vegetation clippings such as palm fronds. The Fiji Hideaway Resort and Spa currently pay $48 every second day for waste from the hotels kitchen to be collected by the Sigatoka Town Council. If every hotel and house could put aside their greens waste and food compost it could potentially be converted into biofuel that produce methane gas, which can be used for other alternatives such as for the production of electricity or gas for cooking. Furthermore, this then solves the issue of paying for garbage collection of recyclables as well as using cooking fuels that are bad for the environment and people's health.

The main question that is yet to be answered is whether the price of a biofuel conversion machine can be within the budget of the hotel, village or family using it? How could we make this a financially feasible solution?

 

HomeBiogas is a family sized bio-gas system that already exists in America. It converts any organic waste into clean cooking gas and a high quality liquid fertiliser for the garden. It costs US $995 which is definitely out of the price range of the Fiji villagers. However, it still gives us an idea of the type of system we could consider for the Fijian villages, just a lower scale version.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/homebiogas-create-your-own-energy-environment-green--2#/

edited on 21st June 2017, 18:06 by William Ashford

William Ashford Jan 12, 2017

Great review of the current situation Caitlin!

Looks like there is huge potential here. We just need to make sure we're continually basing this around consumer needs and wants.

Have you spoken to any locals about whether they would like such a system in their homes/communities?

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Caitlin Bloor Jan 12, 2017

Thanks Will!
From the people we have spoken to it appears to be something they would be interested in using as an alternative for electricity as this is what they find most expensive. In terms of cooking fuels, they would not want to stop using firewood.
We have asked them questions about how much waste there is in a general household and how much animal waste is around - as we were originally unsure if there would even be enough excess food/animal/crop waste to be able to look into a system such as this.
We are looking towards asking farmers in villages specifically some more information about how much waste there is from the crops. Right now we are still unsure whether there would be enough waste to provide sufficient energy, and are considering a system that combines animal and plant waste - due to inconsistencies in responses from villagers.

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William Ashford Jan 15, 2017

It might be better to focus on improving efficiency and reducing emissions from wood stoves for the time being as this might prove to be more profitable socially beneficial in the short to long term. Also it seems to be more focused around the consumer than biodigestion based business models.

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William Ashford Jun 21, 2017

Status changed to TASK - Can you help?
This idea is fantastic however we currently do not have the capability to install or design these systems at a competitive price point. We need ideas on bringing this to market. Can you help?

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Andrew Vild Sep 14, 2017

Status changed to Previous Work
Activity has died off on this thread and so we are working on slimming down ideas for the upcoming activity.

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