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... for greater sustainability and local resilience


All about the production and use of biogas, anaerobic digesters and similar technologies

Community Energy and Local Money

Part of my thrust is to highlight the need for a decentralised power supply for the local community. I favour, among a wide suite of renewable sources, the use of the biogas technology. I went to Sweden in 2000 to a biogas conference to learn about the technology and, along with another trip to Scandinavia, I toured several biogas plants.

Indeed, such is my enthusiasm for both monetary reform and biogas, I have illustrated them both working together. I would favour the use of the [Green]kiloWatt hour as the basis for a local currency. Tie the reward for separating organic waste at source, i.e., kitchen waste (both domestic and industrial) with the ability to [part] pay for one's green energy bills. The biogas plant delivers clean methane gas that can not only

cook your food
power your car and even trains as they now do in Sweden
generate green electricity

but can also be stored to deliver your energy when you actually need it - it's not that simple to do with electrical energy, of course.

Furthermore, the biogas technology captures methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and enables it to be benignly utilised and released as carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide is today's carbon and not sourced from ancient deposits so it is part of today's carbon cycle.

Furthermore, the biogas technology delivers a good free liquid fertiliser that can easily be assayed for fixed nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, etc. Solid digestate is a very good peat substitute - in fact it is better as there are nutrients within it. The liquid digestate has a low smell, better viscosity and pH in comparison with raw animal dung. Fly nuisance is taken care of as the organic waste feedstock to the digester has been ideally been pasteurised which means that there are no weed seeds, E. Coli, TB, parasites, etc., to spread on the land. Please don't blame badgers for TB spread... I'm sure you do not!

For the success of a local biogas plant, you will need a dependable supply of organic waste. This feedstock is valuable but its value diminishes if it is contaminated by plastics, etc. Thus, an incentive to recycle can be given by the issuance of coupons/currency denominated in green kWh to the providers of good quality organic waste as it can be regarded as fuel for the biogas [a.k.a. anaerobic digestion] generator. Closure of loop and a good basis for a currency. A green kWh will be exactly the same in 2 weeks time as it will be in 2,500 years time. A green kWh will be exactly the same in Chile, Russia, Canada, Bejing and Lewes and elsewhere.

The biogas business plan will show, on the basis of how much feedstock is available, how much energy and fertiliser you will reap. You will therefore know how much money/coupons to print.

The energy made available by biogas makes it as if you are sitting on top of your very own gas fields that will never run out. There is no need to go killing people round the world to steal their fossil fuel. I do suspect that the uptake of biogas in this country is low because of vested interests and the reluctance of central government to empower local communities. The big boys must always hold the keys to the power station and be able to thrust you into extreme discomfort if you don't pay them money, oui?

A last point. At Holsworthy biogas here in the UK, experience has taught that at the beginning of any planning permission [yawn, yawn!!] procedures and licence applications, blah blah, you will need to define the nature of your plant. Don't call it an energy plant, call it a fertiliser plant - the biogas is a by-product. Do it that way round and the Environmental Agency will view your plant in quite a different and desirable light.

Do try a Google on "Holsworthy Biogas".

I've loads of material and presentations on these topics so please feel free to get in touch with me.

I've just listened to the 9th podcast on and am greatly impressed by the contents, especially your part, content and delivery!

I too think that complementary currencies are a good way forward and have spend much time discussing these with many people in West Yorkshire and now in Cornwall.

Best of luck in Lewes and well done - you have a terrific audio presence!!

John Thomas