South Africa: Biogas at an entrepreneurial farm in Gauteng South Africa

The assignment comprises the design of a commercial size digester which will supply gas commercially to either a community at a fee or convert gas to electricity and sell it to ESKOM.

Whereas in many poor countries there are programs on biogas run by international donors, these did not reach out to (black) South Africa, because South Africa is considered to be a rather developed country. A cattle farmer in Gauteng installed one as a prototype and in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture he intends to install a second one, that can serve a number of households. 

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 A project proposal has been submitted to that purpose. In August a first team will start up the work, composed of master thesis students working on the subject. Their work needs to be followed up in November by the minor internship group. The project includes a design and a site plan for the digester which will include a firetrap, a desulpherisation facility, a gas compressor area, a site for filling gas into the cylinders, a site for an electricity generator for commercially supplying gas to ESKOM on the grid. 

If everything is going according to planning in November the biogas station is about to be operational. The assignment of the students is to fine-tune the production of biogas, the processing and transportation, including capacity building of the operators. Secondly a business plan needs to be developed with a special emphasis on marketing. Thirdly the students will research the potential of a larger scale use of biogas by the farmers in the region, in cooperation with local entrepreneurs and government agencies.