AN AUSTRALIAN inventor has developed an environmentally friendly, modular system of turning organic waste into free energy that can be used for heating, electricity, and engine fuel.
Brisbane man Ron Lakin has spent more than eight years developing the BioBowser, a small scale, affordable and practical biodigester that produces methane gas.
After the gas is extracted the leftover material can be used as a nutrient-rich fertiliser, which can go straight back onto the farm or sold at the farm gate.
Lakin is adamant the BioBowser not only results in energy cost savings, but also has environmental benefits as methane is a highly destructive greenhouse gas that is rated 27 times more destructive than carbon dioxide.
Lakin likened the system to “having your own bowser, but the fuel is free.
All we need to know is the quantity of waste available on a regular basis and the energy requirements, and we can tailor the BioBowser to suit the needs of the individual customer”, Lakin said.
“If the amount of waste increases or more gas is needed we can put in more units as the system is modular.”
According to Lakin, small operator with three cubic metres of waste a week could produce enough methane to power the hot water and cooking for the household, while a piggery with 1000 pigs producing 5 tonnes of animal manure a day could provide sufficient energy to power a generator to produce electricity for heating and cooling for the animals.
“A small unit can cost as little as $3,000, depending on requirements, such as whether the methane needs to be converted to electricity of motor fuel while a larger BioBowser can cost over $100,000, but could save that amount in energy costs in less than four years”, Lakin said.
Lakin received the Farm Innovation Award at the Ag Show in Toowoomba in September, and he said the system has plenty potential for the rural sector, both in Australia and in the Asia Pacific region.