View Full Version : methane production
09-02-2007, 03:21 AM
I've been studing the production of methane now for a while, and it seemed the main weakness comes down to the heat needs of the digester?
Well, now I've had a brain child! The 'soap bubble' greenhouse! Because this building can be build fairly cheaply, and is great for controling and storing solar heat, the higher heat that methane likes could go hand in had with some heat loving plants. The plants could pay for all the equipment and the methane could produce all the power needed on the farm. If the generator was setup in or near the greenhouse the heat could be salvage and stored in the greenhouse for both the plants and the digester. I really think this would work, what about you, and ideas? You see I live 1/2 mile for a egg barn, and they just dump the manuer! They produce about 25 tons per week!
09-02-2007, 01:39 PM
You must have seen this site:
With that much chicken manure available, you could have one heck of a garden!!!
I noticed many years ago that the local landfills had laid pvc piping in a matrix throughout the fill area, with many riser pipes at the intersections. Each of these risers had a blue flame burning off the accumulated methane, 24 hours/day! Imagine a 40-50 acre site with hundreds of 12 inch blue flames on a dark morning! I always thought that was a huge waste of "free" energy!
10-02-2007, 01:45 AM
I have been using the chicken manuer composted, I regularly get 5 lb cauliflowers and broccoli! Yet so much of the stuff is just wasted! The problem I think is that the methane is just going into the air and is a greenhouse gas, so it's better to burn it I think. As you can see from the link the methane likes a warm temp, and often the gas is burned to heat it's self, but if this idea I have could work far more gas could be saved to do work, or make power.
Richard on Maui
14-02-2007, 02:07 AM
You are in a cool climate are you, Digging? If so, then the greenhouse should be a help eh?
I was trying to picture it, and came up with one dodgy hypothetical scenario where if you had a leak your greenhouse might become a bubble full of methane, which might be unpleasant if not dangerous! Forgive me for not remembering the details of the solar bubble. Is it airtight?
Have you looked at digester plans, yet? We had some discussions on this site over a year ago where various plans were discussed, including one that used long plastic tubing...
Good luck with it! With all that chook shit you'll have plenty of fuel to burn eh? and lots of good soil conditioner leftover as well!
18-02-2007, 07:32 AM
You could say I live in a cold climate! I live in Hay River NT, Canada!
I agree with you about the concern with a methane leak, I believe we would need to build a well sealed digester, the greenhouse would be well sealed, I was thinking a air gauge might beable to be used to know the air quality? I noticed there is a book out talking about methane digesters in China, I wonder if anyone here has read it? I'm thinking of ordering it.
18-02-2007, 08:20 AM
I believe that methane digesters are a way of life on industrial farms in Denmark and have been for maybe 25 years.
Found a colorado pdf booklet that may help.. http://www.green-trust.org/methane.pdf
here's the initial search http://www.google.com.au/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLJ,GGLJ:2006-31,GGLJ:en&q=methane+digesters+denmark
18-02-2007, 11:30 AM
Hay River, NT? I'd probably class that as an extreme climate!! I'm so intrigued...so much I'd like to know about the "hows" of your lifestyle up there! Seems a perfect place for earth-sheltered housing...do you have permafrost (showing my ignorance)? I'm beginning to understand why the bubble greenhouse would be a good fit for you!!!
Interesting info at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hay_River,_Northwest_Territories just as a primer (for all of us moderate climate dwellers!). Looks cool on Google Earth, too! Can I see your house??? :lol:
Would love to hear more of the particulars of your permaculture life in the NT!
19-02-2007, 02:33 PM
Thankx for that link Floot!!
19-02-2007, 03:59 PM
A very good book on the subject is The Biogas Handbook by David House. Out of print, but worth tracking down.
http://www.amazon.com/biogas-handbook-D ... 0915238470 (http://www.amazon.com/biogas-handbook-David-House/dp/0915238470)
21-02-2007, 03:53 AM
Yes extreme is a good way of putting it!
We have a good 6 months of snow nov-april, we live just in the tree line so that makes it alot nicer! (we are 'south' compaired to the other northerns!)
They say there is permafrost here however less now I think because of climate change. We have decided to stay here because of climate change, the long term window is that the north will become a good place to live.
I judge we are on the low side of plant zone 3. I am trying to build permaculture awarness as I teach myself. I have been invited to be part of a 4 acre community garden development in the town which is starting this summer. I'm trying to get them to build a community size 'bubble' greenhouse!
21-02-2007, 07:35 AM
His cow saving research has quantified the amount of smog-causing chemicals produced each year at 6.4 pounds, almost exactly half of the commonly accepted estimate of cow gas (so to speak).
Just thought I would hop in with that comment on methane. Also the greenman site has all sorts of interesting little stories to read on all sorts of subjects.
03-03-2007, 06:34 AM
Have a look at
Sulabh International would have to be world authorities on the utilization of waste and the small scale production of methane gas. A really wonderful organizaton.
During a recent visit to New Delhi I was told of their Toilet Museum and thought that it might be worth a look for amusement if nothing else.
How wrong can one be?
When we arrived it was after closing time and the gates were locked. The gate was next to a large and bustling public toilet and bathing house.
We were about to turn away when a local asked us if we wanted to see the museum, "Only ring the bell, Sir. They will come and open for you.'
We did, not expecting much, but to our surprise the gentleman who opened the gate bade us enter and joyfully showed us around (and joyfull is the only way to describe his attitude).
We got the full tour and cups of tea, boiled on bio-gas, which came from the toilet facility.
Two things remain very fresh in memory, first the lackof odour from the toilets (anyone who has travelled in India will realize how remarkable this was) :!: ; second, when we were shown some books on the museum etc we thought 'Here comes the touch' but not so, the books were free along with a CD and when we tried to make a donation it was refused ! !
The people at the museum were members of the lowest caste in Indian society, the Caste system has long been abolished by law, but is alive and well notwithstanding.
03-03-2007, 04:00 PM
Great info Baisteach,
From that very interesting site I googled my way to:
and ordered the book! Google search "biogas toilet" brought up a lot of info that I hadn't found before.
04-03-2007, 07:16 AM
So here's the perfect example of getting stuck on an idea...
When I read this article, my first thought was "what a waste of an energy resource!" http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-03/03/content_818583.htm
I have also been thinking about the huge infrastructure here in the western world mentioned in Baisteach's "Sulabh" link (our sewage systems) that process human waste enough so it can be dumped into rivers and oceans. (He does seem somewhat envious of our ridiculous sewage treatment approach....but I am thinking he's found a far superior process!)
I am wondering what the methane energy output is of all our human and livestock waste, if captured and utilized for methane??? How would this renewable energy source stack up against nuclear, coal, natural gas, etc equivalency chart in Jez's peak oil thread??? (The one that shows alternative energy equivalencies to a cubic mile of oil.)
Need more data!
04-03-2007, 08:02 AM
I did go looking for links from denmark, germany or holland but couldnt find any interesting ones in english [or that I could understand].
Anyway it is happening all over, here is a local example for you.
Green Valley Dairy is using two anaerobic digesters to generate approximately four million kWh of electricity a year, enough to power about 400 average Wisconsin homes every year. The farm sells 100 percent of the electricity generated to the utility company, and then buys some of it back at a special rate. In addition, the farm is looking to use the systems’ excess heat during the winter months. The project’s $2.2 million cost was offset by a $45,000 grant from Focus on Energy, and has an expected payback period of approximately six years to seven years.
We need friendly legislation to encourage this sort of production and not aimed at farmers, aim it at electricity supply companies, ie mandate them to study what sort of carbon neutral or carbon diminishing local supplies they have and get them involved in the process from their end. It may eventually end up that land developers cannot go merrily on but have to work in tandem with supply companies and set aside land as, for want of a better term, carbon sinks. Or even leave the small farmers alone to do what they do best.
07-03-2007, 12:16 PM
Thank-you , thank-you everyone for adding and sharing on this subject!
There truly is strength in numbers, excellent link from India!
Please tell us right away how the book is that you've ordered!
Here's one fact I learned about methane in the USA. It was said that if only the animal waste was converted ALL the USA farm machinery could be run on it.
So yes there is ALOT of fuel being lost from people and even other types of organic waste.
07-03-2007, 11:03 PM
Here's a couple of links I've stumbled upon relating to home-scale biodigesters and methane use:
(OK, it's more than just a couple...I got carried away!)
This last link has some very interesting ideas regarding methane storage inside an inverted drum over water that maintains pressure and indicates how much gas is stored by how high/low in the water it's floating.
Almost all of the links I've read talk about livestock and agricultural "waste" being used....but I still have this idea of the human "waste" resource of more than six billion people currently existing on this planet and the HUGE amount of energy potential this represents! (Although I still believe that on-site/local responsibility for processing is best...)
10-03-2007, 07:32 PM
well here´s the BEST designed small(ish) scale biogas production system ive seen, made by a crazy french inventor genius called Jean Pain. Fantastic stuff, well worth looking at, even if you have had a lot of resources thrown your way already, this is just PURE BRILLIANT!
http://journeytoforever.org/biofuel_lib ... _pain.html (http://journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library/methane_pain.html)
and for more general info this is the trusted old bible
http://journeytoforever.org/biofuel_lib ... MDToC.html (http://journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library/MethaneDigesters/MDToC.html)
11-03-2007, 05:24 PM
You're right, Strawberryfields3, there's a lot of unique and thought provoking work being done by Jean Pain! Thank you for the post!
You know, it's very serendipitous that this methane thread is running concurrently (and sometimes adjacently) to the Stirling Engine thread. I think about it almost constantly (it's becoming a fascination) of little blue methane flames providing the heat source for Stirling engines.
I received the Biogas Handbook yesterday...it's THICK with information and will take a great while to read and "digest" :lol: Good thing it's raining almost non-stop out...I can read in between indoor projects.
14-03-2007, 09:18 AM
I think methane could be used even in one of these modern sterling units being made by http://www.whispergen.com/main/acwhispergen/
It seems these units cost 3000$ uk pounds = to about 6000$ US. But if you add in the three uses and the fact in theory one could make thier own methane well to me it still looks good. One thing right off is home made methane displaces fossil fuels.
12-04-2007, 02:04 PM
Interesting new method discovered to store methane efficiently:
hmmm, not quite sure why the link doesn't "link"... it works if I cut it and paste into the browser...
13-04-2007, 07:05 AM
That is GREAT news!! When looking at your link I think you need to edit and remove the [url] at the front and back and then I think it should work. I just want to say this news has really made my day!!!!
13-04-2007, 07:17 AM
I think we need to dig(ha, ha) and find out as much as we can about this and see if we can recreate it even if it's not as effective on a home made scale. I believe as the article pointed out the big guys are trying to push for hydrogen because they want to 'control' it!! But methane is FREEDOM!
I wonder how we can go about making 'nanohole' in the corn cobs?? As for a patent I know we can always make anything for ourselves it's just that you are not to recreate for sale to others. I wonder how the corn cob would work on it's own?? Once again thanks friend for keeping your eyes open and sharing this info!
13-04-2007, 02:31 PM
I was also thrilled to find that article (Mother Earth News Forums). Here's a link to essentially the same article, but with a great list of methane facts at the bottom of the page:
All I keep thinking is, "6.5 billion people's humanure biogested into methane and compost will drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions and add significantly to our renewable energy supply". It's a natural! = )
16-04-2007, 12:27 PM
Methane digester video:
17-04-2007, 01:21 PM
The ESSN (Energy Self-Sufficiency Newsletter)...
Issue 1, page 6:
Natural design parameters for methane digesters. Good insight.
Edit: Seems there's more in later "issues"...
Awesome "how-to" for methane beginning on page 5:
21-04-2007, 03:17 AM
Thankx again for those links! I AM going to make methane this summer!
22-04-2008, 09:41 PM
New here but wanted to say that Jean Pain caught my interest after I stumbled upon the fantastic little video on Youtube called Compost Shower (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILzxOH6n7-c). I've since started the Wikipedia article for Jean Pain (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Pain) and with the help of about 5 others in 24 hours I have learnt a lot about this guy and the amazing energy system he started. Hope to be starting a trial on a similar scale here in Dunedin this year.
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