Field Study and Service-Learning MediaBlog

09 March, 2008

La Fortuna: Biogas-Powered Cottage Industry

Farm-Scale Biodigestor
This biodigestor is basically made up of a large bag that is filled with manure (in this case cow) and water and the methane gas that is released as a by-product of the decomposition process is used as an energy source for Christinas house (the tube connected to the bag in this image goes directly to fuel the stove in the kitchen). The entire operation cost around 300,000 colones, which is approximately $600. The sign standing above and to the left of the biodigestor (the close-up image on the right) reads: “Mi Proyecto participa en el Plan de Gestión de la Cuenca del Rio Peñas Blancas”, which is in reference to the main power distributor in Costa Rica, ICE, paying for a portion of the biodigestor in an effort to preserve the health of the river basin.

Shampoo Manufacturing Room
Christina makes all of her shampoo in a room right next to her house. She keeps the area very clean and abides by health regulations. When you enter the shampoo making room the first thing you see is a sink, where you wash your hands. Next to that is a methane powered burner. She uses the methane produced from her biodigester to fuel the stove that she uses to make the shampoo by running a tube from the biodigestor in her backyard to the burner. This practice makes her shampoo manufacturing process more sustainable, because she is producing her own gas, and it is from a local source (her cows).

Author: Rosalinda Gonzalez