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Taiwan Technical Mission in Kiribati Transforming Pig Waste into Biogas

Source: Newstar

Publication date: 2011/07/22

Mission: Taiwan Technical Mission in the Republic of Kiribati

As a pilot program from the Taiwan Technical Mission continues to transform pig waste into biogas, Taiwanese livestock specialist Wang Der-lon recently showed Newstar how the process works while demonstrating the technique to a pig farmer in Nawerewere, successfully connecting and lighting the gas through a cooking stove.

While most stoves – in increasingly common use among local citizens – use gas cylinders, a biogas setup requires a large metal tank, buried underground and then covered with cement, to store waste produced by pigs. Each day, as nearby pigsties are cleaned, waste is washed away and drains directly into the tank, where a filter separates solids from liquids. The liquids drain into one container while the solid waste remains in the metal tank, where it begins to ferment. Over time, this fermenting waste produces methane gas, which accumulates and can eventually be used for cooking.

According to Mr. Wang, the same process can use human waste as well as pig waste. In fact, if both types of waste are combined, he said, the quality of gas produced may make for better cooking, adding that the waste generated by six pigs would provide sufficient gas to cook for six to nine hours, or even longer periods as the number of pigs is increased.

Mr. Wang explained that at present, the TaiwanICDF pilot program would only work with citizens who already run home gardens and pig farms, which members of the Taiwan Technical Mission have dubbed “Taiwan Extension Farms.” As well as eliminating the pollution and smells caused by pig waste, the initiative would save money that families would otherwise spend on gas cylinders, or reduce carbon dioxide emissions caused by burning plant material in open fires, he said.

Mr. Wang said that although the Taiwan Technical Mission has plans to extend the project to outlying islands, for now the initiative would focus only on residences in Tarawa. Up to five pig farmers or gardeners with a good track record would be invited to join the scheme and have the opportunity to construct their own biogas facilities, he explained.

Previously, the Olsh sisters from Teaoraerere had attempted a project to generate biogas from leaf litter, Mr. Wang said. With that project ultimately proving unsuccessful, Mr. Wang said that the sisters had since asked him to build a biogas tank similar to the one in operation in Nawerewere, and added that since biogas would be good for Kiribati, the Taiwan Technical Mission had indeed agreed to help.

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  • Date:2011/11/2