Cover Image
close this bookThe Biogas/Biofertilizer Business Handbook (Peace Corps, 1982, 186 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentInformation
View the documentMain Points of the Handbook
View the documentPreface
View the documentChapter one: An introduction
View the documentChapter two: Biogas systems are small factories
View the documentChapter three: The raw materials of biogas digestion
View the documentChapter four: The daily operation of a biogas factory
View the documentChapter five: The once a year cleaning of the digester
View the documentChapter six: Tanks and pipes: Storing and moving biogas
View the documentChapter seven: The factory's products: Biogas
View the documentChapter eight: The factory's products: Biofertilizer
View the documentChapter nine: The ABCs of safety
View the documentChapter ten: Conclusion: Profiting from an appropriate technology
close this folderAppendix
View the documentNew ideas
View the documentComposting
View the documentBioinsecticides
View the documentFerrocement
View the documentFacts & Figures
View the documentSources & Resources
View the documentFeasibility Studies
View the documentProblem solving
View the documentVocabulary

Sources & Resources

A Bibliography

1) Practical Building of Methane Power Plants for Rural Energy Independence by L. John Fry, 1974. Costs US$ 14.25 shipping included, from META Publications, P.O. Box 128, Marblemount, Washington 98267, U.S.A. This book was my primary source for biogas theory and design concepts. Mr. Fry has been working with biogas systems since 1958.

2) Methane Digesters for Fuel Gas and Fertilizer by Richard Merrill and John Fry, 1973. This book was available from Volunteers in Technical Assistance (VITA).

3) Biogas and Waste Recycling--The Philippine Experience by Felix D. Maramba, Sr., 1978. This book is available from Maya Farms Division, Liberty Flour Mills, Inc., Pasay Road, Makati, Philippines * telephone 86-50-11 * P.O. Box 459 MCC, Philippines, Cable: LIBFLOUR MANILA, Telex: 7-22490-EEC-PH. The book costs approximately US$ 4.00. It is an excellent book, especially for businesses which are thinking about starting a large scale biogas system. The book describes what Maya Farms learned in their profitable ten year, one million peso investment in biogas technology. The addresses given here can also be used to write to the Maya Farms Bio-Energy Division.

4) The Compleat Biogas Handbook for Farm and Home by D. House, 1978. This book costs US$ 9.25 shipping included, from META Publications. It is interesting reading for people who want a lot of technical information.

5) A Chinese Biogas Manual translated by Michael Cook, edited by Ariane van Buren, published by Intermediate Technology Publications Ltd., 1976, and was available from VITA.

6) Construction of Fixed Top Enclosed Biogas Plant prepared by Mien Chu District, Province of Szechuan, China, and was available from VITA.

7) Methane Digesters is the title I gave a large collection of articles on biogas systems, primarily from projects in India and China, which were available from VITA.

8) Biogas Technology in the Third World: A Multidisciplinary Review by Andrew Barnett, Leo Pyle, and S.K. Subramanian, 1978. This book cost US$ 10.00 from IDRC, Box 8500, Ottawa, Canada K1G 3H9. An informative but very technical book, not for the beginner.

9) An Inexpensive Anaerobic Digester for Small Farms by John Martin and Philip Lichtenberger, May, 1981. Published by the consulting firm of Sheaffer and Roland, Inc., 6308 Buffie Ct., Burke, Virginia 20015, U.S.A.

10) Guidebook on Biogas Development, Energy Resource Series No. 21 of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. Published: New York, 1980, ST/ESCAP/96, sales number: E-80-II-F-10, price: US$ 11.00. A good collection of standard biogas literature based on experience gained from the Indian and Chinese digester designs.

11) Renewable Energy by Daniel Deudney and Christopher Flavin, published by Worldwatch Institute, 1983. In their own words, the "Worldwatch Institute (1776 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036, U.S.A.) is an independent, nonprofit research organization created to analyze and to focus attention on global problems...it is funded by private organizations and the United Nations." Renewable Energy is a well-written, easy-to-read "textbook" on the subject of renewable energy. It is not a "how-to" manual; it is a study of the social issues of energy development. How a technology like biogas fits into a community often has much more to do with its success or failure than the quality of the technology.

12) Chinese Biogas Digester: A Potential Model for Small-Scale, Rural Applications (A Manual for Construction and Operation), prepared by Charles H. Nakagawa with Q.L. Honquilada. A joint project of The Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, The U.S. Peace Corps/Philippines, and The German Freedom From Hunger/Agro-Action. Draft: December 1981.

13) "Peace Corps/Philippines," the magazine of the United States Peace Corps in the Philippines. It is available upon request from the U.S. Peace Corps, P.O. Box 7013, M.I.A., Manila, Philippines 3120. The December, 1979, issue had an article on a demonstration model biogas digester built by Peace Corps Volunteers and the Philippines Rural Reconstruction Movement at the PRRM Farm in San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija. It was a digester of that design that I built and operated for a year.

14) "Philippine Farmers' Journal," 113 West Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines. The price is 3.50 pesos (approximately US$ 0.50) per copy, per month. A good magazine that sometimes has biogas articles.

15) "Tropical Animal Production" is a technical agricultural magazine with editions in English and Spanish, costs US$ 10.00 per year for 3 issues and is available from: Consejo Estatal de Azucar, DR, Universidad de Yucatan, Escuela de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Apdo. 116D, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.

16) Ferrocement Water Tanks and Their Construction by S.B. Watt, 1978. Published by Intermediate Technology Publications, Ltd., and available from ISBS Inc., P.O. Box 555, Forest Grove, Oregon 97116, U.S.A. This is the best basic book I have found on the ferrocement concrete technique.

17) Solar Water Heater by Dale Fritz, 1979. This book is published by VITA and is available in English for US$ 2.95 and in French for US$ 3.95. It describes how to build and operate a simple, low-cost solar collector. For the beginner, those who have a small budget, and those who do not need large quantities of hot water, this is an ideal water heater. The manual includes step-by-step illustrated construction plans.

18) Solar Energy Handbook by Dr. Jan F. Kreider and Dr. Frank Kreith, 1981. This book costs US$ 50.00 and is published by McGraw-Hill, Inc., which has a bookstore at 14th and Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C., U.S.A. This is a very thick book written for experts and engineers. It discusses in great technical detail the many different types of solar energy applications. Rankine engines are the only solar-powered heat engines described in detail because the authors believe Rankine engines are the only currently practical heat engines for temperatures below 300 degrees centigrade. This is an excellent, but expensive and very technical, book.

19) Energy for Rural Development: Renewable Resources and Alternative Technologies for Developing Countries is a two book series. The original book was published in 1976 and the supplement in 1981. The subjects covered include solar collectors, photovoltaics, wind energy, water power, biogas, and pedal power. While the supply lasts, a free copy of each book can be ordered by people affiliated with institutions in government, education, or research. When writing for the books, indicate name, title, and institutional address. The address to write to is: Commission on International Relations (JH 214), National Academy of Science--National Research Council, 2101 Constitution Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20418, U.S.A.

20) Report and Recommendations on Organic Farming, United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C., July, 1980.

21) The Samaka Guide to Homesite Farming by Colin Hoskin, 1973. Published by the Samaka Service Center, P.O. Box 2310, Manila, Philippines. The Samaka Guide is a good, basic book on family farming practices in the Philippines. It has chapters on water supply, fertilizer, vegetables, fruits, chickens, ducks, pigs, goats, fish ponds, carabao, food preserving, and many other interesting subjects. The book is out of print now, but libraries may have it.

22) "An Insect Control Method--Too Good to Be True," October, 1976; "The Bug Juice Method: How Safe? How Effective?", May, 1977; "More Backyard Blender Sprays," April, 1978; "The Safe Pesticides in Your Own Backyard," July, 1979, all by Jeff Cox, and "Testing Organic Pest Controls," August, 1981, by Michael Lafavore, are from the magazine "Organic Gardening and Farming." The magazine would like to get letters from people who try the bug juice and plant juice biological insect control methods. Good news and bad news; it is all welcomed. The address to write to is: Reader Service, Bug Juice Test, Organic Gardening, Emmaus, Pennsylvania 18049, U.S.A.

In 1979, Rodale Press, the publishers of "Organic Gardening," started a new magazine called, "The New Farm." It looks like an excellent magazine for family farmers who are interested in producing profitable, high-quality crops by working with nature, not against it. The address to write to for subscriptions is: "The New Farm," 33 East Minor St., Emmaus, Pennsylvania 18049, U.S.A. The magazine costs US$ 11.00 per year in the United States and US$ 15.00 per year in all other countries.

23) Lik-lik Buk, a Rural Development Handbook Catalogue for Papua New Guinea. Published and distributed by: Lik-lik Buk Information Centre, P.O. Box 1920, Lae, Papua New Guinea. The book costs US$ 5.95 from VITA, or K 5.50 surface mail and K 9.00 air mail from Lik-lik Buk. The book contains hundreds of practical appropriate technology ideas from the South Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea. The Appropriate Technology Sourcebook highly recommends Lik-lik Buk, and so do I. The first edition was published in 1977 and a revised second edition has Just been published.

24) Volunteers in Technical Assistance (VITA) is a treasure chest of resources, information, and people. Their address in the United States is: 1815 North Lynn Street, Arlington, Virginia 22209, U.S.A. (telephone: 703-2761800). VITA also has field representatives in many parts of the world. Their names and addresses are available from VITA's main office. When writing VITA, ask for a copy of their magazine "VITA NEWS." The easiest way to explain what VITA is and what VITA does is to quote from their own literature:

"VITA is a private, nonprofit development organization based in the United States. Since 1960 VITA has supplied information and assistance, primarily by mail, to people seeking help with technical problems in more than 100 developing countries. Providing its services in response to requests from individuals and groups working to improve homes, farms, communities, businesses, and lives, VITA helps select and implement technologies appropriate to the situation. VITA participates with local institutions in problem-solving relationships and in efforts to design and carry out local solutions to local problems.

"There is no fixed charge for VITA charges; often there is no charge at all. Each type of assistance provided by VITA is handled differently and may or may not involve a fee. Each month VITA handles case requests from individuals and local groups with little or no access to funds for development projects or to foreign currency. VITA is pleased to be able to support these efforts and in such cases provides its services at no cost to the requester. When an organization requires access to VITA's services over an extended length of time, VITA and the organization can make arrangements to suit both their needs. Such arrangements usually include an agreement for payment of a fee.

"VITA's technical experts often provide on-site consulting services as part of VITA's project involvement. Areas of particular interest to VITA are: agriculture and animal husbandry, alternative energy systems (wind-solar-biogas-water), water and sanitation, food processing, small-scale industries, equipment design, project feasibility and evaluation, low-cost housing and construction, crafts production and marketing, and appropriate management technologies.

"(To put VITA to work for you), send VITA a complete description of the situation or problem. Tell what you are trying to do and how you feel VITA can help. Include drawings, diagrams, photographs, if possible. Be as specific as necessary for clear understanding of the situation. Your description should include the following kinds of information if possible: technical details (location-measurements-symptoms), scale (size and capacity of equipment or machinery, planned annual or seasonal output, size, nature and location of markets, amount of funding available), pertinent area background (social structure-climate-terrain, type of leadership, local laws or regulations, labor and energy resources, tools-materials-workshop facilities), status of project or problem (result of previous attempts to implement or solve it), other participating individuals or groups."

25) Two schools that have interests and experience in biogas systems are:

(1) E.J. Kemsley, Vice Principal, Private Bag 0027, Botswana
Agricultural College, Gaborone, Botswana (phone 52381 and 52384).

(2) Reverend Palpito D. Dumanig, Director, Mindanao Institute, UCCP,
Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte, Philippines.

26) The International Bio-Energy Directory is published by the Bio-Energy Council, Suite 825A, 1625 Eye St., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20006, U.S.A. (telephone 202-833-5656). The directory can be found in some libraries, including the U.S. International Communication (U.S. Information Service) libraries in many countries. The following list was taken from the descriptions of 182 biogas system projects from around the world that were listed in the 1981 issue of the International Bio-Energy Directory.

(1) Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), Casilla 119-A, Quito, Ecuador (telephone 544-800). OLADE has held seminars and workshops to train biogas technicians from Guatemala, E1 Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru.

(2) Coordenadoria de Energia, Secretaria de Transportes, Energia e Communicacoes (STEC), Avenida Cruz Cabuga 1419, 50000 Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil (telephone 222-4161). STEC promotes biogas technology, using agricultural wastes to produce fuel and fertilizer in rural areas.

(3) Ogunlade R. Davidson, University of Sierra Leone, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Private Mail Bag, Freetown, Sierra Leone 27390. The school is studying the technical and economic feasibility of biogas systems in rural African villages.

(4) E.R. Ela Evina, Director, Department Energies Renouvelables, CENEEMA, Ministry of Agriculture, Cameroon. Mailing address: B.P. Box 1040, Yaounde, Cameroon (telephone 22-32-50).

(5) Rural Industries Innovation Centre (RIIC), Private Bag 11, Kanye, Botswana (telephone 39213). RIIC is developing biogas systems to run modified diesel engines.

(6) Dr. Richard K. Solly, University of the South Pacific, P.O. Box 1168, Suva, Fiji Islands, South Pacific (telephone: Fiji 313-900, telex: FJ2276). The university is developing biogas systems appropriate to conditions in the islands of the South Pacific.

(7) Ministry of Agriculture, Office of the National Leading Group for Bio-gas Construction, Biejing, China. The Group studies biogas systems in rural villages and the possibilities of future developments in biogas technology.

(8) Department of Science and Technology, Technology Bhawan, New Meherauli Road, New Delhi 110029, India. The Department conducts research on biogas technology.

27) Appropriate Technology Sourcebook by Ken Darrow and Rick Pam. This book has now been published in two volumes, and it can be ordered from: Appropriate Technology Project, Volunteers in Asia, Box 4543, Stanford, California 94305, U.S.A. The regular price is US$ 5.50 for Volume One (published 1976, revised 1981) and US$ 6.50 for Volume Two (published 1981). There are discount prices for Third World Groups, and discounts are also available for purchases of ten copies or more.

To quote from the abstract in Volume One, the Appropriate Technology Sourcebook is a "guide to practical plans and books...on alternative sources of energy, farm implements, shop tools, agriculture, low-cost housing, health care, water supply, pedal power, philosophy of appropriate technology...small-scale systems using local skills and resources...entries selected on the basis of low price, clarity of presentation, easily understandable, non-technical language...more than 375 publications listed (with) prices and addresses given for each publication...250 illustrations." Volume Two lists 500 more publications and has 300 more illustrations.

28) A Handbook on Appropriate Technology published in 1979 and costing US$ 14.50 and its sequel, Experiences in Appropriate Technology published in 1980 and costing US$ 7.95, are both available from The Canadian Hunger Foundation, 232 Chapel Street, Ottawa, Canada, KIN 7Z2. These two excellent books describe not only the technical aspects of several appropriate technologies but also appropriate technology purposes and results.

To quote from an advertisement for the books, Appropriate technology {AT) "is much more complex than providing blueprints or equipment...the very use of AT questions standard development theories. The case studies (in these books) go beyond this to question the current practice of AT....Unless these communities have some control over the process, access to more resources and markets, power to make decisions, and are supported by government policies which promote community-scale production and services, a large percentage of men and women will remain on the periphery (outside edge) of both development and any new technologies, however appropriate."

29) Paper Heroes: A Review of Appropriate Technology by Witold Rybczynski, 1980. This book is a critical review of appropriate technology and costs US$ 5.00 in the paperback edition by Anchor Books, Garden City, New York, U.S.A.

30) The Book of Think by Mary Burns and illustrated by Martha Weston, 1976. The Book of Think, which costs US$ 4.95, is part of a series of school books written by authors who "believe learning only happens when it is wanted; that it can happen anywhere, and does not require fancy tools." Other books in the Brown Paper School Book series include, The I Hate Mathematics! Book and Blood and Guts (about what is inside the human body and how it works). Books in the Brown Paper School Book series can be ordered from the publisher. The address is: Little, Brown and Company, 200 West Street, Waltham, Massachusetts 02154, U.S.A.

31) Economics for a Developing World: an Introduction to Principles, Problems, and Policies for Development by Michael P. Todaro, 1977, and a revised second edition in 1981. The book is available in many, if not most, developing countries for approximately US$ 3.00. The authorized Philippine edition is published by Phoenix Press, Inc., 927 Quezon Boulevard Ext., Quezon City, Philippines. The book is available in the United States as a textbook for US$ 23.00 under the title, Economic Development in the Third World. For information about local editions, write the publisher: Longman Group Ltd., 5 Bentinck Street, London W1, Great Britain. Inquiries about the U.S. textbook edition can be addressed to Longman Inc., 1560 Broadway, New York, New York 10036, U.S.A. Longman Group also has "associated companies, branches, and representatives throughout the world" which could be contacted for information on the book's availability.

The book Economics for a Developing World is not about biogas. But, just as biogas technology is part of appropriate technology, appropriate technology is part of what could be called appropriate economics for a developing world. When reading the following quotes from the book, if you find the ideas and questions interesting, I believe you will find the book interesting and useful. Understanding something about the "forest" makes the study of any one "tree," such as a biogas business, much easier.

"This book has been written for use by first-year economics students at universities throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. For too many years, students in these developing nations have had to rely on "Western" economics textbooks written primarily for their counterparts in North America and Western Europe. Although such books may claim to be universal in scope, in reality they are typically oriented towards the unique institutional, social and economic structures of the industrially advanced economies of the West. Students in developing countries are often therefore forced to absorb a broad spectrum of economic concepts, principles and theories and to analyse a wide range of contemporary problems and issues which may have little or no relationship to the institutional and economic realities of their own societies...

"The book is organised into four Parts. Part One focuses on the nature and meaning of underdevelopment and its manifestations in different Third World nations...Parts Two and Three form the core of the book. Part Two focuses on major domestic development problems and policies while Part Three examines the place of Third World nations in the international economy...Finally, Part Four reviews the possibilities and prospects for Third World development...

"In our discussion and analysis of critical development we give the diverse and often conflicting viewpoints of development economists, other social scientists, planners and those actually on the "firing line" in Third World government ministries and/or departments. If we reveal a bias, it is probably in trying always to put forward the viewpoints of Third World social scientists and development practitioners who recently have begun to articulate their shared perceptions of the meaning of development as never before...

"Students, therefore, often choose to study economics in hope of finding answers to vital questions such as the following:

1) What do we really mean by "development" and how can economic principles and theories contribute to a better understanding of the development process?

2) What are the sources of national and international economic growth? Who benefits most from such growth and why? Why do some countries and groups of people continue to get richer while others remain poor?

3) Why is there so much unemployment, especially in the cities, and why do people continue to flock into the cities from rural areas even though their chances of finding a job are very slim?

4) Should the rich be taxed more than the poor and how should government tax revenues be spent in order to improve standards of living for all people?

5) What is development planning all about? Why plan at all?

6) Should foreign private corporations be encouraged to invest in the economies of poor nations and, if so, under what conditions?

7) What about "foreign aid" from rich country governments? Should it be sought after, under what conditions, and for what purposes?

8) Should exports of primary products such as agricultural commodities be promoted or should all Less Developed Countries attempt to industrialize by developing their own heavy manufacturing industries as rapidly as possible?

9) What is a "balance of payments" problem? When and under what conditions should the government adopt a policy of exchange control, raise tariffs and/or set quotas on the importation of certain goods in order to improve balance of payments deficits?

10) Is international trade desirable from the point of view of the development of poor nations? Who really gains from trade and how are the advantages distributed among nations?

11) What has been the impact of the rapid rise in international oil prices on the economies of less developed nations? And, what future role might the now wealthy OPEC oil nations play in furthering the development of other Third World nations?

12) What is the best way to promote agricultural and rural development where 80 to 90 percent of most Less Developed Country populations still reside?

13) How does the spread of inflation and unemployment among the economies of rich nations affect the levels of living of people in poor nations? Do poor nations have any recourse, or must they be passive but vulnerable spectators at an international economic power game?

14) Are there economic factors influencing levels of fertility (birth rates) in poor nations? What are the economic and social consequences of rapid population growth? Is the population problem simply a question of numbers or is it also related to the impact of rising affluence in developing nations on resource depletion throughout the world?

15) Will there be chronic world food shortages? If so, which nations will be most adversely affected and how much such shortages best be avoided in the future?

16) Do contemporary Third World educational systems really promote economic development or do they simply act as a rationing or screening device by which certain select groups or classes of people are perpetuated in positions of wealth, power and influence?

17) What is the origin and basis of growing Third World demands for a "new international economic order"? Is such a new world order possible, and, if so, what might be its main features?

These and many other similar questions are analyzed and explored in the following chapters of Economics for a Developing World."