Monday, 23 January 2012

Biogas in Rural Schools

algae education integrated solutions Three Crowns waste water treatement

Rural schools lend themselves very well to integrated biogas soultions...


A consistent source of waste to be used as feedstock, problems with sanitation, and school grounds that need large amounts of irrigation and compost - this is the perfect environment for biogas!

The project at Three Crowns revolved around a sustainable waste water management system. Human waste from the toilets, and grey water from the bathrooms and kitchen are all processed anaerobically through a biogas digester. The slurry is then further processed in algae ponds, which allows the majority of the water used to be reclaimed and re-used as irrigation for the gardens. The methane produced is used to cook off in the kitchens, and the nutrient rich algae by-product is used to fertilise the gardens.

Schools are not only well suited to biogas because they have all the right inputs and requirements (waste, a need for gas etc) but because they are centres of learning. The greatest challenge faced by biogas is education. We need to focus on educating South Africans about the viability of biogas systems. We need to start at a young age, teaching students to be aware of the waste that they create everyday, and the fact that it can be managed in effective, simple ways.

The taboo around biogas (and waste in general) needs to be addressed. We need to stop sweeping our waste under the carpet (or into our landfills) and begin to address these issues in sustainable, practical ways.

The Three Crowns initiative is a great leap in the right direction, and should act as an example for all schools to follow.

Education should be as much about creating a learning environment; an functioning example to students, as it is about time spent in the classroom.

Read more about the Three Crowns initiative in the link below and take a look at the great video!

Also, visit the downloads tab or click here to see the feasibility report for the project

Comments (1)

  • Mculo


    31 January 2012 at 08:04 |
    Wow! Well written post. In a country where most schools do not have (enough) electricity, and nourishment presents a huge challenge, this could be excellent. Maybe even one day something like this could be part of the technology/agricultural studies curriculum?

    I wonder whether the use of biogas could migrate to the domestic lives of the students from the school, though? Thinking of ways in which to get parents or the local community involved would be a way in which the use, or at least trust in, biogas could spread beyond the school grounds...