Contact: Mohan Ahad & Lester Membe, Claremont Innovations
Biogas digesters are becoming more widespread in the developing world. Anaerobic digesters on various scales take compostable waste and produce biogas which can be used to generate heat and electricity, as well as high-quality fertiliser to improve the soil. Anecodotally, many communities actually value the fertiliser more highly than the biogas itself.
Although it sounds like a simple concept, using existing waste products to produce cheap electricity, there are many different parts to the solution, which means it can be quite difficult to set up and operate a system that brings the intended benefits.
Claremont Innovations is a new social enterprise, founded with the goal of alleviating poverty. Their first pilot project will be to set up a biogas ecosystem in a farm in Zambia, using a piggery as the source of waste for the biogas digester. Based on the results they plan to develop novel financial models which provide the funding to enable similar systems to be widely used.
The question for the i-Team is to help define the pilot project so that it can bring the greatest benefits to the participants. The team will need to investigate other biogas projects, whether successful or unsuccessful, and use these results to make recommendations to Claremont. For example, what size and types of digesters produce the best results, what is the best use of the biogas, what types of animals are preferred as sources of waste in different countries, and is there enough water available to make the system viable? They will need to contact NGOs, existing biogas operators, and other organisations to learn from their on-the-ground experience of how these systems are really being used, and how best to use them to improve people’s lives.