Re:fuse, A biodigester for the developing world

Hey All,

Here is a project I did to land a cool client who works in the developing world. They said that I could have the gig if I wow’ d them in two day’s time before leaving back to Africa. The Re:fuse is what came about, I pulled the idea from my time living and volunteering in rural India.

Project description: Re:fuse is an Anaerobic Digestion unit that reclaims the otherwise lost gas from decomposing biological debris. The reclaimed gas is then used for cooking. The fully-enclosed unit creates a closed loop, in which decomposition creates gasses which are internally cleaned and filtered until the outcome is a methane fuel and a usable fertilizer for farming. This fuel is suitable for cooking or heating as needed in rural environments. In most developing countries, the common practice is to cut small trees and shrubs into fire wood for cooking. This not only causes deforestation, but is also contributes to poor air quality in most cities and slums. The Re:fuse closes a very simple green loop, by empowering the user with the ability to produce their own cooking gas and fertilizer for farming from their own bio-waste. Usually, in the cooking process, the food waste is disposed of into the trash. Now, the bio-waste can be put to work as fertilizer by composting down, protecting the air and forest from dirty burning fuels, and also giving clean methane gas for cooking.

Hope you enjoy. Thanks and keep creating great things

Adam Weaver

How much gas is produced in what time frame? Composting isn’t exactly a short-term process, but is certainly an ongoing one. What drove the shape?

I’m guessing that the “average” rural Indian farmer doesn’t have too many extra rupees for a device like this, is it going to be distributed, or subsidized, by the government?

Thanks for the input and the questions. I didnt include the brief which would be helpful in explaining the pricing. The science is really elementary school level but amazing.

In a four week time the gas produced from a similar unit can fill a 50 gallon drum, the use of enzymes helps speed up the process, so gases start producing in under 3 days. This unit starts producing gas within the same amount of time once bio-material is added. This unit has a small 20lb tank, a tank of this size and up to a 3olb would fill relatively quickly and need to be used often.

The shape was driven by three items, two of which I found a surplus of on CL and corners of the internet, a propane tank with a 5o gallon metal drum. The company already has a surplus of the drums so they encouraged the use of them. The third influence was I stuck the image of Dieter Rams braun Coffee maker on the wall and started an 8 hours sketching session.

The average don’t and this is completely funded by grants and donations. The units would only cost up keep for the end user, which is low. A box of baking soda, steel wool for the filters, and a table spoon of septic enzymes once every 8 weeks. The sad part is there would be only a limited batch. I would love to take this project to a level of Tom’s shoes, by one for your cabin, off grid home, earthship and I send one to Africa, India, or any other location.

Why did you hide the methane port at the top behind the shield? It’s the main interaction the users will have. Why not highlight it more?

The sad part is there would be only a limited batch. I would love to take this project to a level of Tom’s shoes, by one for your cabin, off grid home, earthship and I send one to Africa, India, or any other location.

Have you visited UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme? The Urban Systems sub group.

Here’s a quick read

Tarngerine, Thanks for the question. It was a safety thing and the interaction with the unit will mainly happen with the compost input and then the cooking burner. Most tanks are in a cabinet or other nook and tend to get bumped and a leak forms, causing a major problem. With this unit being used daily I wanted to lower the risk to the top as much as possible, but yet still allowing space to connect a hose. Methane is much more combustible compared to propane, and the less of a chance of leak the better. The doors are kind of a false front to allow any leaks to breath and shed to the environment faster, and not pooling waiting for the user to open a door of explosion.

Thanks and I’ll start reading. Awesome.