Thursday, February 16, 2012

From Waste to Cooking Fuel and Composting

FTF Volunteer Grant Ligon, showing future placement of biodigester inlet pipe
Last month, North Carolina resident Grant Ligon got his first taste at being a Farmer to Farmer volunteer. He traveled to Guyana, South America, and carried out a successful assignment as a Biogas Specialist. Below are excerpts from his trip report and a few photos from his trip!

"Over the past several years Farmer to Farmer in Guyana has supported IPED, the Institute for Private Enterprise Development, in their Inter-American Development Bank-funded project centered on helping farmers install, operate and maintain plastic polyethylene biodigesters. These cylindrical units, which are typically around 25 feet long and five feet in diameter, create an anaerobic environment were methanogenic bacteria ferment cow or pig waste, producing methane gas to be used for cooking as well as humus that can be used for vermiculture and composting."
Discussing function of biodigester at St. Stanislaus College Training Farm

"The volunteer specialist was recruited to visit several of the digesters and offer recommendations for improving the structural integrity of the damaged or in-disuse digesters, the dung-based slurry feeding practice, and gas production and storage techniques. Five under- or non-performing plastic units and two unfinished concrete digesters were visited and assessed, and a workshop for the digester owners and other interested parties was hosted at the St. Stanislaus farm." [Several technical recommendations for improvement to these digesters were provided.]

"The trip proved to be a great professional experience, especially when it came to interacting with farmers and livestock raisers and observing how a program like FTF works together with IPED . . . I learned a great deal about how creative they are in addressing various practical concerns . . . I also began to appreciate how often programs with specific roles (like FTF with its advisory focus and IPED with its installation and direct consulting mandate) work together ..."

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