Alternative energy, Turkana-style

|Alternative energy, Turkana-style

Local students went back to visit the Lorengelup primary school where they planted trees a few weeks ago. They had since erected some barriers around these little trees to protect them from the many goats in the area.  Associated with the school is a small brand new maternity clinic.  To provide power for lights, cooking and more, a small biogas unit was being set-up. Students were fortunate to receive a tour and explanation from the inventor Dominique who was installing the unit.

Students of the primary school

A protective well that was built around the little trees

The biogas concept is simple: take a big bag, put in some bacteria from a cow’s or goat’s stomach and throw in lots of goat, cow, or camel dung, or any type of other organic matter such as kitchen waste.  Next, in the absence of oxygen, the bacteria decompose the organic matter, which releases gas, and you are left with excellent high quality fertilizer rich in minerals. The real prize, however, is the gas: it is captured and can be burnt in a stove just like propane, or can fuel a generator that charges a battery. So with just a little effort, one is supplied with fuel, electricity, and fertilizer. Very cool – we should all have a biogas unit!

The biogas bag is under a tarp tunnel to protect it from overheating. The bacteria inside work best at body temperature. You can see the blue container where animal dung is mixed with some water before it is poured into the unit for digestion.

To make use of the high quality fertilizer produced by the biogas unit, simple hanging planters were installed. This type of gardening both preserves water and is easier on one's back!

By | 2017-01-04T18:05:19+00:00 March 21st, 2012|Field Schools|Comments Off on Alternative energy, Turkana-style

About the Author:

Hello, I am Anja Deppe. I am a physical anthropologist and am interested in all aspects of ecology and animal behavior. In Madagascar, I investigated how mouse lemurs (tiny primates) use their senses of seeing, hearing, and smelling to avoid predators. I am currently the director of the Turkana Basin Institute Field School and share my time between Kenya and Stony Brook University.