Basement Biodigester in Lake Traverse Indian Reservation

November 28, 2016

Solar CITIES Inc. and HomeBiogas stand with our First Nations brothers and sisters at Standing Rock and with all indigenous and other oppressed, marginalized, or hegemon-impacted people around the world who want to reclaim sovereignty and self sufficiency.  After our Thanksgiving trip to Oceti Sakowin, Rosebud and Sacred Stone camps at Standing Rock, Solar CITIES board directors T.H. Culhane and Chris Lindstrom and Native American Food Security scholar Tony Sutton drove to Lake Traverse Indian Reservation at the border of North and South Dakota. There they assembled a HomeBiogas system in the basement of the home of Decorah Zephier. Decorah is the the son of Chief Arvol Looking Horse and Paula Horne and lives with his brother Sonny and their families.

Maryann and Ervin Sonny Bishop from the Rosebud Continuum Educational Project in Land of Lakes, Florida donated the HomeBiogas system. Solar CITIES has assembled a HomeBiogas system, several Solar CITIES IBC biodigesters, and a Puxin 10m3 biodigester at Rosebud Continuum.  Ervin, Maryann, and their son Brian own the Ervin Bishop Construction Company. Ervin was raised on the Rosebud Lakota-Sioux reservation in South Dakota.  Our goal is to make biogas a central technology for sustainable development and independence in first nations.

Because of the extreme winters in the Dakotas, Solar CITIES is partnering with Chief Looking Horse and his family to demonstrate the effectiveness and safety of the “domestic dragon” as an indoor “house pet”.
This installation is the second basement HomeBiogas system. We built the first in the basement of Solar CITIES Vice President Janice Kelsey in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania, which also suffers from cold winters that would put outdoor biodigesters into hibernation.

With these field laboratories, we are proving that biogas belongs in the house. We invite members of all first nations to come and see how they work so that we can spread the wave throughout the Dakotas to help defeat the “black snake” of oil pipelines threatening areas like Standing Rock.

Technical Details

The system was loaded with a single bucket of fresh horse manure, a bottle of SGP and RideX liquid septic solutions and a packet of Septi-Pak powder and filled with lukewarm water.  The system was insulated with Prodex reflective insulation and fiberglass. A Puxin double burner biogas stove was hooked up next to it.  It was commissioned on November 29th, 2016.  As of January 1st, 2017 it had still not produced flammable gas, but this is to be expected given the small amounts of innoculant used.  Culhane started a system in Tampa, Florida in his backyard in September of 2016 with four boxes of varied septic powders and solutions only and it took five weeks to get first flame.  He also started a system in a room at Mercy College in January of 2012 on a single bucket of Humanure that also took five weeks to start.  We should be hearing soon when this basement system comes on line.


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