I have been generating biogas at home for cooking.
I started the idea as an experiment some few months back after I discovered that I can power my generator with cooking gas that is known as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). Prior to the time, I have learnt that it is possible to produce gas from animal and agriculture waste products. Last year October, 2015, we were at Songhai Farm, Benin Republic and we saw biogas being generated which the farm uses for cooking and power some of their machinery.
I was fascinated about the idea but I didn’t know how to go about the production of the biogas. I think I had it to the neck. I was personally tired about the epileptic power supply from our national electricity authority popular known as NEPA, even up till now that the name has been changed, people can’t stop using the word NEPA which some people coined as Never Expect Power Always.
There was an online technology we developed some years back and we got some few clients who were interested in using the technology. But we have to power our computer system 24 by 7 to run the technology. It was not a funny idea because we needed to run our generators round the clock since we can’t rely on the national electricity power. We were spending on petrol like no man’s business and we got like three generators that kept developing different kinds of problem because of over used.
We also have inverter which we sometime used to supplement. But the inverter barely got charged because the electricity to charge it was not regular. We therefore invested in solar panel to be able to charge the battery. The batteries got charged in the day and any time from 4pm, the solar panel won’t be able to charge the batteries again. Since we also have some appliances powered by the inverter, the power soon ran out and we would have to resort to generator. Though the generator can also charge the batteries but both solar panels and generators are not as effective as electricity charging the batteries. I learnt that if you want a better charging through the solar panels, then you have to invest more in the panels.
These have been my challenges with electricity. I was mainly appalled by the amount we spent weekly to fuel the generators. Our intention for investing about one million naira into solar power system was to eliminate the frequent money we paid on petrol. My belief was that with solar system, we won’t need to buy fuel again but I was wrong. The batteries are like fuel to run the inverter. The batteries don’t last forever and in fact, if you are unfortunate as some of my experience of investing hundreds of thousands of naira on batteries and got bad in just 3 months, you won’t even like the idea.
Though, inverter serves perfectly when it works, it is noiseless and eco-friendly but you may need to invest a good chunk of your money at a start to get it installed and then change the batteries when they get bad. To me, the batteries are the fuel for the solar power, so it is like you are pre-paying for your fuel, why petrol purchase is like, pay-as-you-go. If the battery get spoilt or had fault, you will need to buy another one and good battery may range from N60,000.00 to N70,000.00 and above and you may need to use about four batteries or more depending on the capacity of your inverter.
You can now imagine how happy I was when I discovered that we can convert our petrol generator to use LPG. Apart from the fact that the cooking gas is cheaper than petrol, I am also excited about the fact that, I will soon be able to generate gas for free to power the generator without buying from NNPC again.
Fortunately, we got the conversion device for our generators and presently, our generators use both gas and petrol. All of our petrol generators are now using gas as fuel instead of petrol and we have drastically reduced the amount we spend on fuel simply because LPG is cheaper and last longer than petrol.
Using gas also helps to prolong the life span of the generator because it does not produce carbon like petrol.
After converting our first generator to use gas, I was prompted to start my research on generating biogas. So far, it has been a successful project. I have been able to generate gas to cook and I have been able to bottle it into the common cooking gas cylinder.
I am about to experiment it with generator which may be achieved in some few days or weeks from now.
We did a seminar about how to convert generator to use gas and I also give a lot of information about it. If you want to have the idea and get full details about it, you can click on the link for details. At the training, I did a live demonstration of biogas being used with cooking stove. See the video below:
Also, at the seminar which we did on Saturday, 17th September, 2016, we also converted a generator to use LPG. With the conversion, they generator can use both petrol and gas. But my interest is the gas because it is less expensive, save 60% to 70% of the cost you would have spent compare with petrol and preserve the longevity of your generator. Here is the video of a converted generator:
The bigger opportunity for you now with this idea, apart from reducing your cost is that you can turn it to be a good business.
- You can provide the service as a technician and help people to convert their generator. Interestingly, it is not hard to do.
- You can resell the conversion devices and make good money on it.
This idea is still new to a lot of people and we have millions of Nigerians using generators. Just imagine helping 100 people and your profit is just N2,000.00 per service, then, you would have made about N200,000.00 (two hundred thousand naira only).