Biogas Namsaling

Namsaling, Nepal:

Sustainable Energy and Improved Sanitation

Recycled-waste cooking briquettes

All over Nepal, old-growth forests are being cut down for fuel. In rural villages, where there is no access to gas or kerosene, wood serves as the main energy source for cooking and heating. A unique technology called biogas digestion can produce flammable biogas from the decomposition of animal waste, providing families with reliable, renewable energy without the need for wood. Biogas digesters are a healthier and less labor-intensive source of fuel than firewood, and their only by-product is a rich, safe and petroleum-free fertilizer.

Namsaling is a rural village in eastern Nepal where more biogas digesters are sorely needed. EWB Technion visited Namsaling in December 2008 to survey the village’s resources and their few existing digesters. At the same time, a Namsaling health survey carried out by EWB U. of Colorado suggested a correlation between intestinal disease and the lack of sanitary latrines.  With sanitation and energy sustainability in mind, EWB Technion is working together with residents of Namsaling on expanding the use of improved toilets and biogas digesters. EWB Technion seeks to provide financial, construction and design assistance to local residents in building biogas digesters and sanitary toilets. We are also studying ways of improving construction and increasing efficiency of these digesters right here at the Technion Institute.

In addition to facilitating the construction of anaerobic reactors, EWB Technion will host workshops on the production of compacted waste briquettes. These briquettes, made from paper, harvest gleanings and other organic waste, can cheaply reduce the amount of wood cook fuel required for families that cannot afford a biogas reactor. This reduces deforestation pressure and provides a financial benefit by reducing the time investment required to harvest and transport firewood as the primary fuel source in the home.

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