Flexi Biogas BG5
Biogas International Limited
Flexi Biogas BG5 is a system that degrades biological matter into a gas useful for cooking, through a flexible above-ground plastic digestor.
Flexi Biogas BG5 developed by Biogas International Limited, is a flexible above-ground system that produces biogas. The market name of the BG5 model is Std Domestic. The flexi system is installed in only a few hours and normally are operational within 7-10 days, is portable and expandable, and runs on any biodegradable matter. Since it is a domestic model, it can supply sufficient cooking fuel for family of up to around 12 members.
Kenya (main market) and Rwanda.
Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
BG5 is a model that targets domestic use, and supply sufficient cooking fuel for Kenyan family of up to around 12 members. The product is suited to smallholder farmers because it is portable, affordable, easy to install, and simple to operate. It also has the advantage that it can be set up quickly for places such as refugee camps.
Locally manufactured with specially treated robust materials designed to withstand all weather conditions in Nairobi, Kenya.
Biogas International Limited is the sole manufacturer and distributor.
500 Flexi Biogas systems between 2011 and early 2014. It started as a pilot program launched by the IFAD. The IFAD intended to deploy about 1000 more systems over the course of 2014–2016.
The Flexi Biogas BG5 includes four key parts: plastic input and output pipes, a reinforced plastic digester bag, plastic piping to transport biogas to home or storage, and a plastic greenhouse covering. The system can run on any biodegradable matter – cow, pig, goat, sheep, rabbit or/and chicken dung, kitchen waste, market waste, grass, water hyacinth, farm weed and garden clipping.
- Digestor: 6m x 3.75m plastic bag made of PVC tarpaulin. High cost of good-quality plastic, increasing the price of fabrication.
- Greenhouse Tunnel: Polyethylene plastic. Trapping heat and keeping the temperature between 25 and 36°C. During the day the tunnel captures solar radiation, increasing the temperature of the organic waste material (substrate) in the digester.
- Pipeline: gas piped through a PVC tube of 15 meters connected to an appliance or piece of equipment such as a gas stove for cooking.
- Cross-flow design: prevents overloading of the system and crusting (scum formation). This system does not require agitation.
- Weight: 10 kg
- Start up manure required: 1 ton
Process: Flexi Biogas systems perform anaerobic digestions. Anaerobic digestion is the breakdown of organic material by micro-organisms in the absence of oxygen. It produces biogas, a methane-rich gas that also contains carbon dioxide with trace amounts of other gases; and digestate, a source of nutrients that can be used as a fertilizer. The digestion process begins with bacterial hydrolysis of the input material in order to break organic polymers into smaller molecules that finally become methane and carbon dioxide after acidogenesis and methanogenesis.
Technical schematic of a flexi-biogas system unit. (Source)
Free, provided by Flexi Biogas Solutions. Upon installation, users are trained on how to run and maintain the system, what does and what doesn’t, troubleshooting the system and how to solve hitches. Technical support to all the clients offer 24/7 via mobile phone and email.
1 year warranty on all components against manufacturers defects. Apart from the digester envelope itself, all other components are “off-the-shelf” and are available for replacement in every hardware stores.
The manufacturers specify the following as the system’s benefits:
- Flexi Biogas systems are prefabricated and install in a few hours.
- The overflowing bio-slurry from the system is a highly nutritious fertilizer ready for absorption by plants without ”burning the plants”. It can also be applied as top dressing or sprayed on plants as an effective pest repellent.
- Flexi systems run on any bio-degradable matter. High calorific feedstock produces larger volumes of gas.
- FlexiTech employs “True Cross-flow” fermentation, which means that what goes in one end is fully processed before exiting the other. This also means that 100% of the biogas is captured making FlexiTech the GREENEST biogas plant design yet.
- After installation, the system will have usable volumes of gas within 3 – 5 days, and is normally in full production within 7 – 14 days.
A technical and field performance evaluation of flexi biogas plants was conducted by Biogas Development and Training Centre of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi in conjunction with the International Fund for Agricultural Development. As a conclusion on the study, researchers stated:
- Women can play an effective role in earning their livelihood through Biogas by forming self-help groups which can install and maintain biogas plants.
- In the tribal villages people those having cattle’s are interested to have the flexi biogas plant in order to save time & forest. The plant contributes to enhancement of vegetable & crops production and additional income.
- The flexi biogas system can be recommended to small and poor families as it is easy and quick to install with temperature controlled condition.
There are some dangers associated with biogas digesters: fire hazard, leaks and negative pressure, but since this is a small/ family size system the hazards are also lower.
Benjamin K. Sovacool, Matthew Kryman, Taylor Smith, Scaling and commercializing mobile biogas systems in Kenya: A qualitative pilot study. Renewable Energy, Volume 76, April 2015, Pages 115-125
Sehgal, K., Wanjihia D., Kembe M., Flexi Biogas systems: inexpensive, renewable energy for developing countries. IFAD, 2012 November.
Vijay, V. Technical and field performance evaluation of flexi biogas plants. IFAD, 2014.
Biogas International Limited also offers other products like gas systems, utilities, bio-slurry systems and more.
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