Hemite is producing biogas

01 Jul 2008


Hemite, a village in Osmaniye, in southern Turkey is interpenetrated with wastes... The animal excretion that is being left in the village uncontrolled has significant impacts on human health and the environment.

New Horizons - Agricultural and animal wastes are mixing into the Ceyhan River via surface and ground waters. Uncontrolled stacking of animal excretion by households who live on great cattle raising because living spaces are very cramped and because there is no place to store animal excretion, is posing a threat on the villagers and children in particular. The Hemite and Surrounding Villages Communal Development and Initiative Association has therefore come to the village’s rescue in order to collect animal excrements in a controlled way and to obtain good quality bio-fertilizer and biogas and has developed the “Production of Biogas and Biomass from Systematically Collected Cattle Manure” project through the support of the Small Investments Fund established by Baku-Tfilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline Company (BTC) and UNDP.

When great cattle excretion is discharged into the environment without any treatment, a bad odour and harmful bacteria start to form. Resources that are left in the nature, cause air and water pollution and the gas formed during their degradation cause global warming and climate change once they reach the atmosphere. Moreover, stacking animal excretion on surface and in open, prevents the necessary reactions that convert wastes into fertilizers from taking place and certain minerals get lost by leaking through soil.

The fertilizer value of animal excrements that will be used in a proper biogas unit will increase by 2. Moreover, when biogas is burnt, the heat energy that is formed is 4.5 times more than cow dung and 2,5 times more than wood. The biogas that will be formed at the biogas unit established for this reason, will also be converted into electrical energy and will be used to increase the productivity of the milk storage unit in the village. Bio-fertilizer that will be another output of the reactor will be sold. In this context, the project aims to develop businesses and ecologically sustainable production through the use of alternative energy.

The Head of Hemite and Neighbouring Villages Communal Development and Initiative Association and the project coordinator Mehmet Özer further explained the objectives of the project to New Horizons.

Mehmet Özer: The reason for why we developed this project is because the living space in our village is very limited. The locals of this village mainly live on animal husbandry and because they don’t have gardens, they live cramped with animal wastes. Our children too face health risks because their playing areas are also almost non-existent. Our goal is to spare people, children and the environment from such an unhealthy atmosphere and to minimize the threats posed on environment by collecting animal wastes in a regular manner. In addition, as you know Turkey is a country that is dependent on foreign countries for it’s energy supply, in other words we have a deficit of energy. Therefore we want to produce our own energy using this biogas establishment. Our agricultural cooperative has a milk cooling tank and a compound feed unit and we will produce energy for these establishments. Moreover our farmers and producers will be able to benefit from the bio-fertilizer that we will produce by drying these wastes. We will provide veterinary services to the animals of whose excretion is collected and this will reduce the costs of the producers in maintaining their animals’ health. We will provide animals with regular vaccination, controls and general health care. In fact we have already started our veterinary services.

New Horizons: But how will you encourage the locals to collect manure? In other words how will you ensure that villagers collect animal wastes rather than discharge these in the environment?

Mehmet Özer: Empty barrels will be distributed to households and a person with a tractor will come by every day, will collect the full barrels and trade them with new empty ones.

New Horizons: Where will the full barrels be collected?

Mehmet Özer: The barrels will be collected in the reactor that will be established. There, we will mix these with water and produce gas.

New Horizons: What are the activities that have been realized so far in the context of the project as well as future activities?

Mehmet Özer: Until now, we established a compound feed unit with the agricultural development cooperative. We held one-on-one discussions with animal owners and explained them what services we will provide and how they will collect wastes in barrels. We vaccinated animals to protect them against diseases. We took hair samples from animals and conducted studies to increase their milk, we added the necessary minerals to their feed and conducted tests on 3 or 5 of the animals. We observed a particular increase of milk in the animals that were tested on. For example, the milk that did not contain added minerals was not too productive but with the minerals the productivity of the milk increases by 1,5 times.

New Horizons: Ok. When will the construction of the reactor start?

Mehmet Özer: The construction will start at the end of June and will be completed at the end of July. Then there is a two-month testing period and I believe that the reactor will start to operate in full capacity by the end of August or September.

New Horizons: How will you maintain the sustainability of the project? In other words will barrels be collected every day from now on?

Mehmet Özer: Ofcourse, everyday. Because we have hired someone for this job. He will collect barrels everyday with his tractor. We already held one-on-one discussions for this. They will not do any other job apart from this. They will collect animal excrements every day, will empty these into the tractor and will empty the liquid bio-fertilizer that will be produced in the pools. We don’t have any problems in this regard. In fact the number of animal owners that say “collect our manure” has already increased. In addition, there are other villages who are members of our association as well, our neighbour villages and we might collect manure from them in the future too.

In the context of the project, training will also be organized targeting great cattle breeders that teach them how the biogas reactor works. Moreover, the outputs of the project will be shared with all relevant institutions via meetings that will be held. The project that will be implemented in three villages – Hemite, Sakarcalı and Orhaniye – ends on 31 July 2008. Other institutions that support the project are Par Consultancy and Gökçedam Agricultural Development Cooperative..

On 9 June 2008, a team from UNDP that is responsible for the projects implemented under the framework of the Small Investments Fund visited Hemite and other project sites in the context of the fund. The team was joined by Andrew Yager, Senior Economic Affairs Officer at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and Dr. Hisham Zerriffi, an energy policies expert at the British Columbia University. Yager and Zerriffi toured the project sites, received information on the projects and provided implementors with technical information.

The Small Investments Fund that was formed in 2004 by UNDP and BTC Pipeline Company is contributing to the sustainable economic development of the poor living in the regions where the pipeline traverses and aims to protect the natural resources that the locals are dependent on for a living thus causing minimal disruption to the communities and natural environment along the pipeline route.