Friday, August 10, 2012

It Works!

When last we left the biodigester, it had been successfully installed but was not yet functional. The biodigester's big plastic bag needs to be first filled with 50 buckets of (ahem) cow poop and 50 buckets of water (perhaps with a dash of molasses). And then we wait for the bacteria to do their work. The bag begins to inflate with methane gas and after a few weeks it is ready for use.

Pastor Eustachio had told me when I saw him in March that the biodigester was working really well, but we had not been able to return to see for ourselves.  Thankfully a visiting group from Ohio was really excited to make the 3 hour trip to San Pedro to learn about and see the biodigester project. [*]
So, as you can see, it works!  This is the fully inflated biodigester, with the beginnings of a brick protective wall around it.
Pastor Eustachio explains to Hno. Boniche (the presidente of La Misión) and members of the Ohio group how the biodigester works.
And here's the result: a successful blue flame coming out of the stove-top!
A daily bucket of manure and another of water provides about 4 hours of gas for cooking. The one drawback is that the big pots used for soup or other large dishes don't fit on the small range, and so the family still uses the wood stove for some meals. So the biogas is not replacing 100% of the family's wood use, but it's a start!

This month we are laying plans to build the second biodigester (rainy season permitting) in the nearby village of Malpaso. The generous help of several of the groups who have visited La Misión Cristiana this summer--including the brothers and sisters from Ohio who trekked all the way to San Pedro--has been key to moving ahead on this project.

[*] Actually we just said goodbye to the eighth group (out of nine) who has come to visit and spend time with La Misión Cristiana this year. This may help explain why blogging has been light non-existent over the last few months.


  1. Thanks Tim for sharing about the biodigester. Our group from Ohio was so excited to learn about this and also is very interested in getting our churches engaged in fundraising for this initiative. Blessings to you all!

    Dave Long-Higgins

  2. I want a biodigester for our backyard, too! But I guess I'd have to figure out a source for manure (probably not dog, huh?), and not sure the neighbors would be too thrilled. Oh well. Very cool post, Tim. Thanks.

  3. Tim, It's exciting to read about our group's visit on your blog! Jon Peterson, Mike Newcomb, Sarah Newcomb and Emily Peterson have already raised money for 5 more biodigesters! It should be on its way to you soon!
    We are busy sharing our trip enthusiasm with our congregations!
    Greetings to all 4 of you! I hope you take a deep breath and a break after the 9th group leaves! Jenny Steindam

  4. Dear Dave and Jenny -- thanks again for all you've done to support La Misión Cristiana. It was great having the group down here visiting and getting to know people. Maybe for the next visit we can think about timing so the group can participate in an installation?

    Hi Heidi -- you should tell your neighbors that they actually don't smell bad :)