» Technology Profiles
» IIR BIOGAS TECHNOLOGY
Description and Characteristics
Biogas is a combustible gas produced by anaerobic fermentation of organic materials by the action of methanogenic bacteria. The most important constituent of Biogas as fuel is methane (CH4). Methane is odorless and invisible in bright daylight. It burns with a clear blue flame without smoke and is non-toxic. It produces more heat than kerosene, wood, charcoal, and cow-dung chips. Institute of Industrial Research has developed two types of biogas plants; the floating metal dome digester and a fixed brick dome digester. The organic matter for Biogas production in Ghana include cowdung, straw, human feces, poultry manure, pig manure and water hyacinth. KVIP’s can have biogas technology incorporated to treat the waste and also generate biogas. The organic matter is mixed with water to form a slurry of an appropriate concentration. Waste from food and beverage industries can also be used for biogas generation.

How the Technology works
The main part of a biogas system is a large tank, or digester. Inside this tank, bacteria convert organic waste into methane gas through the process of anaerobic digestion. To have continues flow of gas the digester needs to be feed with organic waste frequently. In principle, a biogas plant has three essential components:
1.    An inlet structure is required to feed the organic matter into the digestion chamber via the inlet.
2.    Digester- where anaerobic reaction or digestion of materials by methanogenic bacteria takes place. Since such reaction can occur in the absence of air, this chamber needs to be airtight.
3.    An outlet structure is required to remove the digested organic materials, e.g. the effluent from the digestion chamber. The outlet level is always lower than the inlet level to ensure one-way flow of the digested slurry.
The methane gas produced inside biogas system may be used for cooking, lighting, and other energy needs. Waste that has been fully digested exits the biogas system in the form of organic fertilizer. The waste water is rich in nutrients can be treated with solar treatment plant and can be poured over plants to help them grow.



Market Potential
Biogas technology has exclusive advantages including: sustainable energy source - no use of fossil fuels; serves as waste management -better hygienic conditions because of attached sanitary facilities; storable energy and decentralized power generation; utilization of bio-waste; no smoke while cooking and therefore less diseases; saving of chemical fertilizer by using bio-slurry and reduce deforestation. The potential market includes domestic (households) and commercial (communities, towns, schools, prison services, industrial companies, market places). On commercial bases communities can generate electricity generation.
 
Challenges and Opportunities
The major challenge is the investment capital for the construction of the biogas technology. The technology in its initial establishment is quite capital involving but has a long time benefit. Various groups that need the technology find it difficult to acquire it. The opportunity is there due to the increasing challenge of waste in both rural and urban areas. The technology is a good solution to minimize waste and also benefit from other by-products like fertilizer for cropping and energy (gas) for cooking and lighting. Local communities that don’t have hydro-electricity and waste management companies are very much interested.
 Collaboration and funding
The technology was developed by CSIR-IIR. On the basis of this technology, various organizations have contracted and funded the building of this biogas technology in their organization.
Dissemination strategies and Diffusion
The technology is disseminated through building of the biogas plant for communities, district assembles, prison services, slaughter houses and individual households. It was also diffused by presentations of papers on the technology at workshops, conferences, exhibitions and seminars in Ghana.  

Users of the Technology
Communities
Schools
Industries
Animal farms (eg. Cattle ranch and slaughter houses)
Prisons
Food processing companies
Households


Pictures
Below are some pictures of the Biogas digester building process and end result.