Nopalimex is a biodigestor 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 USD 2.17 million (40 million pesos, May 2016)
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.
Users can obtain the product 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.
Digester: well insulated above ground container, probably made from steel.
Main characteristics: the absence of hydrogen sulfide and the rapid generation.
Process: The biogas digester processes prickly pears 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.
Construction and commissioning of the plant takes 12 to 18 months.
There are some dangers associated with biogas, including fire hazard, explosion, gas leaks and negative pressure.
José Luis Arvizu Fernández, Producción de biogás con nopal. IEE; 2015 April-June.
Aké, M, El Oro Verde de México. El Santo Grial de las Energías Renovables; 2014. (México, D.F.)
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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