Home Biogas: 7 Things (2024) You Must Know

Home biogas is a renewable fuel that’s produced from organic matter.

When food or animal waste is broken down by microorganisms in the absence of oxygen, biogas can be produced in a process called anaerobic digestion.

Landowners have started to consider home biogas as a sustainable energy solution.

When produced on personal land, you can use this mixture of methane and carbon dioxide as a fuel source for a variety of purposes.

Here’s what you should know about home biogas, how it works, and the benefit it offers you and your property.

1. What is home biogas?

Home biogas is a sustainable energy solution.

It uses organic waste to produce biogas — a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide that can be used as a fuel source for everything from cooking and eating to generating electricity.

2. How does home biogas work?

If you want to produce biogas at home, you’ll need to install a biogas digester.

A digester is a container that is both airtight and sealed.

It allows the anaerobic digestion process to occur.

To feed the digester, you need organic waste materials like food scraps, animal manure, and yard waste.

After you set up your digester, you’ll add waste and water.

This mixture will be left to ferment.

In the process of the mixture breaking down, biogas will be produced.

You’ll be able to collect this biogas as a fuel source.

3. What are the benefits of home biogas?

Biogas has several benefits for landowners, which is why it can be advantageous to install a biogas digester on your property if you have the space and time to maintain it.

bulletIt is a sustainable energy source

Home biogas is a renewable energy source.

It relies on organic waste to produce gas that can be used as a fuel source.

Using biogas allows you to reduce your dependence on fossil fuels.

Some people like to use biogas simply because it helps reduce their environment impact and carbon footprint.

bulletIt allows you to manage your waste

Home biogas is a great option for property owners who live far away from convenient waste management options.

It allows you to have a go-to waste management option for organic and food waste.

Instead of sending food scraps and yard waste to the landfill, you can use them in your biogas digester.

Altering the way you handle your waste not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions but also improves soil health.

bulletIt provides cost savings

One big motivator behind producing biogas is using it as an energy source.

Having access to a biogas digester where you can collect biogas means that you can save on energy costs.

So, what exactly can home biogas be used for?

Cooking, heating, and generating electricity are the big three.

Using biogas instead of traditional energy sources will help to lower your utility bill.

bulletIt produces fertilizer

The process of producing biogas will leave waste over.

You’ll need to clean this waste out of your digester, and when you do, you can use it as a fertilizer for your garden or crops.

This product is rich in nutrients, and it can help to improve soil health.

It will also reduce the need for chemical fertilizers, which can benefit plant, soil, and animal health.

bulletIt gives you independence from the grid

There are a couple of different situations in which people want independence from the grid.

In one situation, they have a property that isn’t on the grid at all, to begin with.

They aren’t able to connect to any existing local water, electricity, or sewer systems.

For these cases, like it or not, you’re off-grid.

In other cases, people intentionally seek to be off the grid because it gives them enhanced independence from utility companies.

When you generate your own energy, you don’t have to worry about what a company is charging you, especially if they’re the only company in the area and have a monopoly.

4. What types of home biogas digesters are available for home use?

If you’re looking to use biogas as a fuel source at home, here are your best options.

Remember to consider the amount of waste you produce, the space you have available, and your budget when selecting a home biogas digester.

bulletFixed dome digester

A fixed dome digester is made from brick or concrete.

It has a fixed dome that’s sealed and airtight.

Then, waste is added through a feed inlet so that anaerobic digestion can begin.

Once biogas is produced, it can be collected through a gas outlet.

bulletFloating drum digester

A floating drum digester is made from a plastic drum that floats on top of the waste.

Similar to the other options on this list, the drum itself is sealed and airtight.

The biogas is collected through a gas outlet.

bulletBag digester

A bag digester is made from a flexible, sealed, airtight bag.

Waste is added to the bag through a feed inlet.

Biogas, once produced, is collected through a gas outlet.

bulletDIY digester

Another option is building your own biogas digester with materials that are available at your local hardware store.

We’ll go into detail about how to do this in the next section.

5. How do you make your own home biogas digester?

If you want to produce your own biogas but you only have a few hundred dollars for the project, try a DIY approach.

The key to making biogas is having a digester.

You can build one of these yourself through the following steps.

bulletDecide on location

The best location to choose for your biogas digest is a sunny area in your backyard.

bulletGather your supplies

Here is a complete supply list that you’ll need to build your own home biogas digester.

  1. Digester tank (700 liters in capacity)
  2. Inlet pipe: 3-foot-long PVC pipe – 3-inch in diameter
  3. Outlet pipe: 2-foot-long PVC pipe – 3-inch in diameter
  4. Funnel for inlet pipe: PVC pipe adapter
  5. Gas pipes: 2 plastic pipes
  6. Gas valve
  7. T-connector
  8. Super glue
  9. Sand
  10. Marker
  11. Soldering iron
  12. Hacksaw blade
  13. Tyre tube

Keep in mind you are able to adjust the size of your tank if you need to accommodate more or less organic waste.

However, if you do that, you’ll need to adjust the sizes of the other pipes and tubes.

bulletAttach the PVC pipes to the tank

After you have all your supplies gathered, head to that sunny area of your backyard that you’ve selected for the project.

You’ll want to assemble it in the area rather than trying to move it later.

Choosing a sunny area will encourage bacteria to grow and consume the organic waste that you add to the digester.

Once our digester tank is situated, take your inlet PVC pipe and place it on the side of the tank.

Use a marker to draw around the pipe so you can cut out a hole with your soldering iron that will fit the pipe perfectly.

After inserting the PVC pipe, let it touch the bottom.

However, you shouldn’t attach it to the tank.

bulletFasten your outlet pipe

On the other side of the tank, make a hole for the PVC pipe.

This will be used as your outlet pipe to help eliminate any sludge that’s produced.

Remember, this sludge is great for fertilization, so don’t be afraid to repurpose it!

You’ll also need to make a smaller hole for your gas pipe.

If possible, make the waste inlet pipe larger than the hole you made for your gas.

This will allow you to more easily drop waste into the inlet pipe.

bulletSeal the inlet pipe

The inlet pipe will have some small gaps where you’ve inserted it into the tank.

Take the time to seal these up using super glue and sand.

This will prevent any gas from escaping.

bulletConnect the gas valve

Attach your gas valve to the gas pipe.

Ensure the valve is airtight to prevent gas from leaking.

When you’re ready to use the gas you collect, you’ll be able to connect the gas pipe to another pipe using a T-connector.

In other words, one end of the pipe will be connected to your burner or stove, and the other will be placed into a tyre tube.

Here is a helpful DIY biogas digester that can help you see this process.

bulletAttach the funnel

Add a funnel to the inlet pipe, so you can easily drop organic matter into the digester (relatively mess free!).

6. How much does it cost to install a home biogas system?

Like most other sustainable options (i.e., solar panels), access to this resource requires an upfront investment.

Generally speaking, installing a home biogas system will vary depending on the size of the digester as well as the amount of waste you produce.

Additionally, the type of digester you select will impact the cost.

But as a brought estimate, you can expect to spend between $1000 and $2000 depending on your family size.

When budgeting for your digester, you should also factor in the cost of piping and other equipment as well as the cost of installation.

Similar to solar panels, there are cost savings associated with using biogas as a fuel source over time.

This will help you to offset any initial investment you make.

7. What type of maintenance is required?

To keep your home biogas system running properly, you’ll need to perform regular maintenance.

Here are the steps you should keep in mind.

bulletAdding waste

Biogas is produced when food or animal waste is broken down by microorganisms in the absence of oxygen.

This process is called anaerobic digestion, and it requires having organic waste added to the digester regularly to keep the process going.

bulletRemoving biogas

While you’ll want to remove biogas from the digester periodically so you can use it as fuel anyway, you’ll also need to do it for maintenance purposes.

When you allow biogas to build up in the digester then it can create a lot of pressure which isn’t good for the system.

bulletEliminating sludge

In addition to producing biogas (a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide), your digester will also produce waste which will turn into sludge.

You’ll need to clear out this sludge periodically to ensure a well-running system.

bulletChecking for leaks

Check both the digester and piping for leaks regularly to ensure that the system is operating as it is intended to.

bulletCleaning the system

Even when the digester is running properly, clogs and blockages can occur.

Cleaning the digester periodically can ensure that it produces the biogas you need to run your home.

Final Thoughts

Home biogas can be a stellar option for landowners in the U.S. who are looking for a sustainable energy option.

When you install a home biogas digester on your property, you gain the opportunity to manage your organic waste and reduce your carbon footprint.

Additionally, you’ll have access to all the energy you need for cooking, heating, and generating electricity.

Not to mention it’s a great bonus for your garden as the process produces an amazing natural fertilizer.

Shop around for the biogas digester that fits your needs, and if you can’t figure out which one is best, consider going DIY!

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Erika Gokce Capital

Disclaimer: we are not lawyers, accountants or financial advisors and the information in this article is for informational purposes only. This article is based on our own research and experience and we do our best to keep it accurate and up-to-date, but it may contain errors. Please be sure to consult a legal or financial professional before making any investment decisions.

Erika

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