Biogas Digester Plant for Lesotho

Biogas Digester Plant for Lesotho
Massachusetts Institute of Technology - APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY SERVICES 2004

Summary & Motivation Project Initiator: ATS
Start Date: 2004
Projected Completion Date: Not applicable
Current Status: Ideas stage

In Lesotho, sheep, goats, cows, oxen, and other animals are common in even the most rural areas. Paraffin fuel is currently used in many of these same areas for heating and cooking, but the cost of transportation is relatively high. Biomass and dried animal dung are also used for both purposes, but the smoke released when either is burned can be detrimental to a person's health.

ATS has proposed creating simple plans for a biogas digester that could be built by a rural community. Animal waste would be collected and inserted into the digester. Over time, the waste would decompose, releasing methane gas. The gas could be collected from a release nozzle at the top of the digester. This gas could be used for cooking and heating, and it would not have the detrimental effects of the biomass fuel products.

Community The biogas digester would initially be developed in Maseru for the local farming community. Once the design has been proven, plans could be distributed to rural villages so that each community could build their own digester.

Specifications Must be locally manufacturable.
Must be culturally acceptable.
Must not release any harmful by-products.
Must be affordable by rural community.

Issues Biogas digesters have been done successfully in several other countries, but ATS has never before attempted to manufacture one.

Help is needed in the following areas:
Designing and constructing test biogas digester.
Determining optimal size of biogas digester.

Contacts Project Leader: Thapelo Letete
MIT Contact: Not available (If interested, please email
ATS Contact: Thapelo Letete