October 2, 2023
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Marisol and Misael Menjívar pose subsequent to the biodigester put in in March within the yard of their residence in El Corozal, a rural settlement positioned close to Suchitoto in central El Salvador. With a biotoilet and range, the couple produces biogas for cooking from feces, which saves them cash. The biotoilet might be seen within the background. CREDIT: Edgardo Ayala/IPS

SUCHITOTO, El Salvador, Jul 25 2023 (IPS) – A brand new know-how that has arrived in rural villages in El Salvador makes it potential for small farming households to generate biogas with their feces and use it for cooking – one thing that in the first place sounded to them like science fiction and in addition a bit smelly.

Within the countryside, composting latrines, which separate urine from feces to supply natural fertilizer, are highly regarded. However can they actually produce gasoline for cooking?

“It appeared unbelievable to me,” Marisol Menjívar informed IPS as she defined how her biodigester, which is a part of a system that features a bathroom and a range, was put in within the yard of her home within the village of El Corozal, close to Suchitoto, a municipality within the central Salvadoran division of Cuscatlán.

“When the primary ones had been put in right here, I used to be excited to see that they’d stoves connected, and I requested if I might have one too.” — Marisol Menjivar

“When the primary ones had been put in right here, I used to be excited to see that they’d stoves connected, and I requested if I might have one too,” added Marisol, 48. Hers was put in in March.

El Corozal, inhabitants 200, is one among eight rural settlements that make up the Laura López Rural Water and Sanitation Affiliation (Arall), a neighborhood group answerable for offering water to 465 native households.

The households within the small villages, who’re devoted to the cultivation of corn and beans, needed to flee the area through the nation’s 1980-1992 civil battle, as a result of preventing.

After the armed battle, they returned to rebuild their lives and work collectively to supply fundamental providers, particularly ingesting water, as many different neighborhood organizations have, within the absence of presidency protection.

On this Central American nation of 6.7 million inhabitants, 78.4 % of rural households have entry to piped water, whereas 10.8 % is provided by wells and 10.7 % by different means.

With small stoves like this one, a rating of households in El Corozal in central El Salvador cook dinner their meals with biogas they produce themselves, due to a authorities program that has introduced clear power know-how to those distant rural villages. CREDIT: Edgardo Ayala/IPS

Easy inexperienced know-how

The biodigester program in rural areas is being promoted by the Salvadoran Water Authority (Asa).

Since November 2022, the federal government company has put in round 500 of those techniques freed from cost in a number of villages across the nation.

The goal is to allow small farmers to supply sustainable power and biogas without charge, which boosts their earnings and residing requirements, whereas on the similar time enhancing the setting.

This system offers every household with a package that features a biodigester, a biotoilet, and a small one-burner range.

In El Corozal, 5 of those kits had been put in by Asa in November 2022, to see if individuals would settle for them or not. To this point, 21 have been delivered, and there’s a ready record for extra.

In El Corozal, a rural settlement in the municipality of Suchitoto in central El Salvador, the technology of family biodigesters arrived at the end of last year, and some families are now producing biogas to light up their stoves and cook their food at no cost.  CREDIT: Edgardo Ayala/IPS

In El Corozal, a rural settlement within the municipality of Suchitoto in central El Salvador, the know-how of household biodigesters arrived on the finish of final yr, and a few households at the moment are producing biogas to mild up their stoves and cook dinner their meals without charge. CREDIT: Edgardo Ayala/IPS

“With the primary ones had been arrange, the concept was for individuals to see how they labored, as a result of there was lots of ignorance and even worry,” Arall’s president, Enrique Menjívar, informed IPS.

In El Corozal there are a lot of households with the surname Menjivar, due to the custom of shut family members placing down roots in the identical place.

“Right here we’re nearly all associated,” Enrique added.

The biodigester is a hermetically sealed polyethylene bag, 2.10 meters lengthy, 1.15 meters broad and 1.30 meters excessive, inside which micro organism decompose feces or different natural supplies.

This course of generates biogas, the clear power that’s used to gasoline stoves.

The bogs are mounted on a one-meter-high cement slab in latrines within the yard. They’re product of porcelain and have a deal with on one aspect that opens and closes the stool inlet gap.

  One of the main advantages that family biodigesters have brought to the inhabitants of El Corozal, a small village in the Salvadoran department of Cuscatlán, is that the whole process begins with clean, hygienic toilets, like this one set up in Marleni Menjívar's backyard, as opposed to the older dry composting latrines, which drew flies and cockroaches.  To the left of the toilet is the small handle used to pump water to flush the feces into the biodigester.  CREDIT: Edgardo Ayala/IPS

One of many essential benefits that household biodigesters have delivered to the inhabitants of El Corozal, a small village within the Salvadoran division of Cuscatlán, is that the entire course of begins with clear, hygienic bogs, like this one arrange in Marleni Menjívar’s yard, versus the older dry composting latrines, which drew flies and cockroaches. To the left of the bathroom is the small deal with used to pump water to flush the feces into the biodigester. CREDIT: Edgardo Ayala/IPS

Additionally they have a small hand pump, much like those used to inflate bicycle tires, and when the deal with is pushed, water is pumped from a bucket to flush the waste down the pipe.

The underground pipe carries the biomass by gravity to the biodigester, positioned about 5 meters away.

The system can be fed with natural waste, by way of a tube with a gap at one finish, which should be opened and closed.

As soon as it has been produced, the biogas is piped by a steel tube to the small range mounted inside the home.

“I don’t even use matches, I simply flip the knob and it lights up,” mentioned Marisol, a homemaker and caregiver. Her husband Manuel Menjivar is a subsistence farmer, they usually have a younger daughter.

In El Corozal, biodigesters have been put in for households of 4 or 5 members, and the gear generates 300 liters of biogas through the evening, sufficient for use for 2 hours a day, in line with the technical specs of Coenergy, the corporate that imports and markets the gadgets.

However there are additionally kits which are utilized by two associated households who stay subsequent to one another and share the gear, which incorporates, along with the bathroom, a bigger biodigester and a two-burner range.

With extra subtle gear, electrical energy may very well be generated from biogas produced from landfill waste or farm manure, though this isn’t but being carried out in El Salvador.

  Marleni Menjivar gets ready to heat water on her ecological stove, watched closely by her four-year-old daughter, in El Corozal in central El Salvador, where an innovative government program to produce biogas has arrived.  With this technology, people save money by buying less liquefied gas while benefiting the environment.  CREDIT: Edgardo Ayala/IPS

Marleni Menjivar will get able to warmth water on her ecological range, watched intently by her four-year-old daughter, in El Corozal in central El Salvador, the place an revolutionary authorities program to supply biogas has arrived. With this know-how, individuals lower your expenses by shopping for much less liquefied gasoline whereas benefiting the setting. CREDIT: Edgardo Ayala/IPS

Saving cash whereas caring for the setting

The households of El Corozal who’ve the brand new latrines and stoves are proud of the outcomes.

What they worth essentially the most is saving cash by cooking with gasoline produced by themselves, without charge.

They used to cook dinner on wood-burning stoves, within the case of meals that took longer to make, or on liquefied gasoline stoves, at a value of 13 {dollars} per gasoline cylinder.

Marleni Menjívar, for instance, used two cylinders a month, primarily due to the excessive stage of consumption demanded by the household enterprise of constructing artisanal cheeses, together with a highly regarded native type of cottage cheese.

Day-after-day she has to cook dinner 23 liters of whey, the liquid left after milk has been curdled. This consumes the biogas produced in a single day.

For meals through the day Marleni nonetheless makes use of the liquefied gasoline range, however now she solely buys one cylinder a month as an alternative of two, a financial savings of about 13 {dollars} per 30 days.

“These financial savings are vital for households right here within the countryside,” mentioned Marleni, 28, the mom of a four-year-old woman. The remainder of her household is made up of her brother and grandfather.

“We additionally save water,” she added.

The biotoilet requires only one.2 liters of water per flush, lower than typical bogs.

As well as, the soil is protected against contamination by septic tank latrines, that are broadly utilized in rural areas, however are leaky and unhygienic.

The brand new know-how avoids these issues.

The liquids ensuing from the decomposition course of movement by an underground pipe right into a pit that features as a filter, with a number of layers of gravel and sand. This prevents contamination of the soil and aquifers.

Additionally, as a by-product of the decomposition course of, natural liquid fertilizer is produced to be used on crops.

Most families in the rural community of El Corozal have benefited from one-burner stoves that run on biogas produced in family biodigesters.  Larger two-burner stoves are also shared by two related families, where they cook on a griddle one of the favorite dishes of Salvadorans: pupusas, corn flour tortillas filled with beans, cheese and pork, among other ingredients.  Credit: Coenergy El Salvador

Most households within the rural neighborhood of El Corozal have benefited from one-burner stoves that run on biogas produced in household biodigesters. Bigger two-burner stoves are additionally shared by two associated households, the place they cook dinner on a griddle one of many favourite dishes of Salvadorans: pupusas, corn flour tortillas crammed with beans, cheese and pork, amongst different substances. Credit score: Coenergy El Salvador

Checking on website: zero stench

Attributable to a lack of know-how, individuals had been initially involved that if the biogas used within the stoves got here from the decomposition of the household’s feces, it will most likely stink.

And, worst of all, maybe the meals would additionally scent.

However little by little these doubts and fears pale away as households noticed how the primary gadgets labored.

“That was the very first thing they requested, if the gasoline smelled dangerous, or if what we had been cooking smelled dangerous,” mentioned Marleni, remembering how the neighbors got here to her home to test for themselves when she bought the latrine and range put in in December 2022.

“That was due to the little data that was out there, however then we discovered that this was not the case, our doubts had been cleared up and we noticed there have been no odors,” she added.

She mentioned that, like nearly everybody within the village, her household used to have a dry composting bathroom, nevertheless it stank and generated cockroaches and flies.

“All that has been eradicated, the bogs are utterly hygienic and clear, and we even had them tiled to make them look nicer,” Marleni mentioned.

She remarked that hygiene is vital to her, as her little woman can now go to the lavatory by herself, with out worrying about cockroaches and flies.