Cultural village produces biogas from dung

2011-11-30 00:00

RURAL people might not have electricity, but they could have gas to cook with. Residents at Ecabazini Zulu Cultural Village at Albert Falls generate biogas from cow dung.

The cultural village, owned by Cedric John Hood, offers cultural day visits or overnight stays in beehive and rondavel huts.

Manager David Hazelhurst said the village, where eight people live, has been producing biogas for eight years.

“In most rural areas people walk miles to chop firewood and don’t know when they will get access to electricity.

“However, most rural areas have cattle, which produce methane.

“This is a completely natural product and is totally sustainable,” said Hazelhurst.

The cow dung is collected, deposited in a concrete tank and mixed with water. It goes through a pipe underground to a dome that traps gas inside when pressure builds up.

“This gas is routed to a pipe connected to a stove in a homestead where we cook,” said Hazelhurst

The by-product of the gas generated is quality fertilizer collected for crops.

The homestead produces vegetables and fruit.

During the COP17 conference Hazelhurst wants visitors to realise that South Africans are doing their best to conserve the environment.

“I always joke with people when Eskom is down and there is load shedding and we just carry on as normal. It doesn’t affect us.

“We have a paraffin lamp and here’s the stove,” he laughed.

Hazelhurst said they can also run a generator on diesel.

Biogas generation is simple and requires no technology, said Hazelhurst.

“Other than filling it [with dung] each day it requires no maintenance and has not cost us anything in monetary terms since being established.”

• gabisile.ngcobo@witness.co.za

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