January 10, 2015
At the end of our service learning trip to the Dominican Republic, Envisaj Mercy students and Solar CITIES co-founder T.H. Culhane introduced the IBC/ARTI hybrid system to the Batey Relief Alliance Center for AgroPecuaria.
August 26, 2014
Simon, the grandfather of Sakhiwe Songhe who helped us build the digester at Sundowner’s Backpackers Lodge, lives on a farm in Swaziland outside Manzini where he has fruit orchards and keeps cattle, geese, and chickens. It is here that Sakhiwe and Bonkhe are conducting this year’s follow up to their hydroponics experiments. They are proving to farming communities that you can achieve at least twice the yield on Swaziland’s poor land using compost to build soil. Solar CITIES went to the farm the weekend of August 23 and 24. With the family and international volunteers, we built a Solar CITIES IBC/ARTI hybrid biogas system to provide cooking gas for Simon and fertilizer for Sakhiwe and Bonkhe’s science-in-action experiments as they go into their senior year of high school.
August 24, 2014
Dr. T.H. Culhane, Rohit Fenn, and Amit Fenn traveled to Swaziland to work with Science in Action winners Sakhiwe Shongwe and Bonkhe Mahlalela. Rohit is a young man from India who designed a more efficient toilet and Amit is an evolutionary biologist and Rohit’s older brother. Sakhiwe and Bonkhe were interested in working with the Solar CITIES team to add the ‘food waste to fuel and fertilizer’ biogas solution to their toolkit for improved low-cost hydroponics in Swaziland
We stayed at the Sundowners Lodge near Manzini. At the lodge, Peace Corps and other project teams spend their evenings. There is also a crossflow of Swazi and international visitors who share ideas for making the world a better place. During the week, everyone learned how to build a biodigester and saw how they can provide energy security and also help provide food security too!
The Solar CITIES team built a Solar CITIES IBC/ARTI hybrid system for the lodge. Immediately after, they built another one and transported it to the farm of Sakhiwe’s grandfather, Simon. Simon is on the right in blue in the picture.
Now Swaziland has two operating biodigesters that provide fuel cooking food and fertilizer for growing crops.
April 6, 2014
Our second small-scale biogas build in Turkey, one year after the first one we built with Yaşat Hacıbaloğlu. The network of youth interested in biogas grows ever stronger and brighter. Things have been stalled here in the DIY realm because Youtube is banned by the government. It isn’t easy to access open-source video instruction but there is no substitute for face-to-face workshops. I am privileged to have been able to share a solution with the students of Koc University’s Environmental Engineering Club this afternoon. As you can see, everyone stayed until way after sunset to finish up!
January 16, 2014
We built this Solar CITIES IBC/ARTI Hybrid Biodigester system on January 15th at Kibbutz Lotan after Culhane field tested the new design early in the fall at Mercy College. The new idea was to use buckets for the feed in and slurry out, simulating a Puxin or fixed dome digester using water displacement to allow for some gas build up in the IBC and creating water pressure to force the gas out. It also gives an ability to easily pour food waste in, acting as a “mega funnel”.
The digester was built in a workshop led by Culhane Cicelsky and Kaplin with the Kibbutz Lotan Green Apprenticeship Students and with students from Envisaj Mercy, the Mercy College Environmental Sustainability and Justice League from New York, including Green Apprenticeship alum and Solar CITIES Rio partner Leo Adler.
Because of an unusually cold winter in Israel, which included snow in Jerusalem, it took nearly two months for the system to begin producing gas.
Alex Cicelsky posted on facebook on April 10 on Green Apprenticeship – Kibbutz Lotan:
Green Apprenticeship – Kibbutz Lotan educational and functional methane biogas digestor. From right to left: an ARTI (Indian) style digestor which stores the gas and keeps it under pressure > the Puxan (China) style insulated intake digestor which sends the gas to the ARTI > the gas tanks that we won’t need to buy anymore! — with Thomas Henry Culhane and Mike Kaplin at Kibbutz Lotan – קיבוץ לוטן.
Photos: Alex Cicelsky