- Issue: Spring 2014
1. BREATHE EASY
In contrast to traditional wood fires, biogas burns a smoke-free flame. The resulting improved air quality reduces respiratory and eye-related illnesses, particularly among women and children, who spend the most time indoors. Globally, smoke-related disease kills 4 million people annually—more than AIDS, malaria or tuberculosis.
2. WASTE NOT
Biogas systems create methane cooking gas from the breakdown of animal, agricultural and human waste. When these natural byproducts are collected and recycled, less waste runs off into local waterways, resulting in improved water quality and a reduced chance of waterborne disease.
3. DIGEST THIS
The collected organic material feeds into a container buried in the ground (the “digester”), where the anaerobic environment breaks it down, creating methane. The biogas then rises into a storage tank and stays there until it is needed.
4. BLACK GOLD
Digested slurry—the solid byproduct of the decomposed waste—is used as a free, nutrient-rich fertilizer by many poor, rural farmers to help improve crop yields.
5. CLIMATE SMART
Left in nature, the methane emitted by human and animal waste is a potent polluter—each molecule has 20 times the greenhouse gas potential of CO2. Converting that gas into fuel for clean-burning stoves means less methane released into the atmosphere.