Energy from food scraps and other biomass? A lot has been written about converting biomass into fuel, including using poultry poop as an energy source. The idea of using food scraps as a biofuel for cars has even been touted as a futuristic idea in such Hollywood movies as Back to the Future, when Marty McFly’s professor friend throws banana peels and other food scraps into the fuel intake of his futuristic Delorean DMC-12 flying car.
In reality, the above sci-fi prediction, as shown in the movie, has yet to take place. Even with this in mind, creating bio-fuel in the form of cooking gas is now possible using food scraps, animal wastes and even human poop. A portable device which does this conversion is now being marketed by an Israel based company HOMEBIOGAS
HOMEBIOGAS displayed its portable biomass converter at a recent Cleantech exposition and seminar in Tel Aviv. The device converts food waste like fruit and veggie scraps meat scraps and other organic material into safe and usable bio-gas in a process similar to producing compost fertilizer for your garden. The device, called the BioGas, simply breaks down the composition of food and other organic waste products in 4 easy steps:
1. Food waste is fed into the device’s “fuel” intake tube (shades of the professor’s Delorean).
2. Biomass consuming bacteria placed in the device, or appliance, breaks down the organic waste in an internal “digester”.
3. The biomass breakdown process creates methane bio-gas that is stored in a special gas holding bag on top of the appliance.
4. The created bio-gas then flows into a gas stove or burner for home use.
A “spinoff” by-product of this procedure is a high quality liquid fertilizer that has a variety of uses in home gardens, lawns and the like.
The portable Biogas appliance sells for around $500 and is now being marketed in more than 92 countries. The device’s “digester tank” holds up; to 1,200 liters of organic material and the bio-gas holding tank holds up to 700 liters of converted bio fuel.
The model on display even had a portable toilet attached to it, similar to one used in boats and campers. “It is possible to use human waste, including toilet paper, for making biogas” says one of the company’s marketing representatives, Oriya Barkai, Regional sales Manager (see photo}. who was present at the Cleantech fair.
Barkai says that a safety feature of the appliance is that the pressure of the bio-gas in the holding tank is much less than accumulated gas a conventional propane or LP gas tank. Being made almost entirely out of PVC type plastic materials and perhaps subject to leakage or rupture could be a possible fire hazard, however.
Read more on biomass composting and biomass energy: