The Nopalimex is a biodigestor powered by a cactus (nopal) widely found in Mexico.
Nopalimex is a biodigestor developed by Miguel Aké entirely powered by nopal, a cactus. The plant benefits from economies of scale and also no transport cost, as the crop is grown around it. The biogas produced is used in the factory for making corn and cactuschips, as well as in a genset for electricity. Some is cleaned of carbon dioxide and provided as biomethane, which can be used in modified vehicles.
Investment costs are 2.17 million USD (40 million pesos)Data from 2016
Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Micro-enterprises, industries, public services in Mexico that need electricity or biofuel.
Plants are designed and built individually. It is a bespoke design, made individually for customers and their particular sites.
Patented in Mexico by Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial (IMPI).
Users can obtain the product directly from Nopalimex.
Two plants to date in the town of Zitacuaro, in central Michoacan state, the first to aliment the company ‘El Manjar del Campo’ that produces tortillas, the second used to fuel the town’s vehicle fleet.
The system includes a well-insulated above-ground container. The biogas digester processes prickly pears (from the cactus) into biomethane. The pears are ground up into a soup, mixed with manure and fermented in a digester. The biogas generated is then cooled to dewater it.
May be provided by the manufacturer.
Construction and commissioning of the plant takes 12 to 18 months.
Production of 10 kW per hectare per year. Each hectare of nopal may produce 32,000 m3 of fuel per year.
There are some dangers associated with biogas, including fire hazard, explosion, gas leaks and negative pressure.
Arvizu F, J. (2015) Producción de biogás con nopal. IEE; 2015 April-June
Aké, M. (2017) Biogás con nopal para vehículos en sustitución de combustibles fósiles. México
The biodigestor was developed with expert advice from the National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico, the Autonomous University of Chapingo and the Electric Power Research Institute. Expert advisors have indicated that the good economics depend on having a good quality feed material easily accessible – in this case nopal (prickly pear).
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