Brisbane inventor has developed an environmentally friendly, modular system of turning food factory waste into free energy.
Ron Lakin has developed the BioBowser, a small scale bio digester that produces methane gas. After the gas is extracted the leftover material can be used as a nutrient-rich fertilizer, although oils and fats should be mixed with other material.
The BioBowser has significant environmental benefits as methane is a highly destructive greenhouse gas that is rated as 27 times more destructive than CO2.
The principal of converting waste to methane has been known for centuries. Large intensive farms in Australia like piggeries have long been harvesting methane to use as an energy source. But these require large one-off systems that can cost millions to build. Small scale biogas digesters are popular in China, India, Germany, Sweden and Norway.
With the BioBowser, methane bio digesting is now accessible to smaller scale operations such as food factories.
"It’s like having your own bowser, but the fuel is free", Lakin said.
"A food factory with twenty cubic metres of waste a week could produce methane of the equivalent heat value of sixty kilograms of LPG which would be more than sufficient for cooking, heating and lighting while a larger facility producing 5 tonne of waste a day could provide sufficient energy to power a generator to produce electricity for the entire plant.
The biodegradable waste material could range from bakery, kitchen or restaurant waste or fruit and vegetables", Ron said.