Introduction: $Cash From Trash$ Make Your Very Own Electricity!!

Picture of $Cash From Trash$ Make Your Very Own Electricity!!

   Hi guys! Today we will be making something I'd like to call the "EGG". EGG stands for "Electricity-from-Garbage Generator". This simple machine produces electricity without polluting environment. It is easy to make, all materials are cheap and even can be found in the backyard of your house! And of course it DOES make cash from trash!! Still not involved, so get involved! This machine let you recycle EVERY piece of trash!  If you recycle plastic, glass, paper and metal in the ordinary way AND use this machine then you don't have to use bins any more! Sound's weird? Then see how it works:

   You put the trash (only organic materials ) in a container (see pictures ), then you wait till the bacteria eats "Digests" the trash. In this process a kind of "Biogas" called methane is produced. This gas is flammable and produce CO2, but it produce 50% more energy for the same CO2 production than gasoline so it doesn't pollute environment very much. After the biogas is produced, all you have to do is to to collect it in a hose and store it in a safe place because it explodes if touches air. So you have to store it in a place far from air, for this purpose you will make a reservoir filled with water (see pictures). Then another hose will transfer the biogas to the boiler in order to make electricity using steam engine or you can use biogas to cook, heat water and many other uses.

   So, did you get involved now ? If your answer is "yes" then continue to step 2, if your answer is "no"  then visit this site  to see that this machine is safe and used in larger scales or watch "Planet Mechanics" in the episode called "cow power" to be sure.

Step 1: The Materials

Picture of The Materials

As I said before, the materials used are cheap and can be found in the back yard. check the list below (and remember to see pictures):

1- A container: it will be used as the digester and you will put trash in it. A container with small hole is recommended to prevent biogas from run from it. 
2- Another container: this one will be bigger and its hole will be bigger, too. You will put the reservoir rounded with water in this container.
3- A bucket: you will use this as a reservoir and it must be smaller than the second container.
4- Hose: its length depends on the distance from the reservoir to the steam engine or the cooker.
5-  A small stick: you may use metal or wooden stick, it length will be the same as the bucket (reservoir) depth. It will be used to secure the hose in the reservoir.
6- Wires or ropes.
7- A tap: to control the exit of biogas from the reservoir.

1- Hummer and nail.
2- Epoxy or silicone.
3- Pincher.
4- Knife.
5- Pencil.

Step 2: Preparing the Digester

Picture of Preparing the Digester

1- Draw a circle on the top side of the digester that fits the diameter of hose's hole . 
2- Make a hole on the circle you drawn on the top side of the digester.
3- Cut t the hose into two pieces, one should be longer than the other. You will use the long one to transfer the biogas from the reservoir to the boiler or the cooker. You will use the short hose to transfer biogas from the digester to the reservoir.
4-  Push length of about 20 cm (7.8 inches ) of short piece of hose into the digester container through the hole you made.
5-  Put some epoxy or silicone around the hole and hose to ensure that biogas don't go out of the digester.  

Step 3: Preparing the Reservoir

Picture of Preparing the Reservoir

1- Fill the big container.
2- Rope the hose that comes from the digester and the other piece of hose (the long one) to a stick using wires or ropes (see pictures). Don't make it so tight so the biogas can go through the hoses.
3- Make two holes on the side of the bucket using hammer and a nail (see pictures).
4- Secure the stick and two pieces of hose to the bucket using wires and the two holes you made in the 3rd step (see pictures). Be sure that the stick and hoses are near to the base of the bucket.


Step 4: Connect Every Thing

Picture of Connect Every Thing

1- Put the bucket upside down in the big container that filled with water and push it through water to the base of the container in order to push the air out of the bucket. Notice that  high pressure air come from the hoses which id caused by water. Make sure that the bucket is rounded by water and there is no more air in it.  
2- Put a tap in the end of the long hose that transfer biogas from reservoir to the boiler in order to control the exit of gas
3- Putting the digester on a stand or something to be higher than the reservoir is recommended. 
4- Put trash in the digester using a cone. 

Step 5: Using Your Biogas

You can use biogas in different ways; in cooking, heating and producing electricity. In order to make electricity from it, you can use a boiler and a steam engine. Biogas will heat water to be boiled and then the steam will be transferred to a steam engine. Below are useful links on how to do this:

Making a boiler:

Making a steam engine:

You must make some changes on the engine in links above to make electricity; Just change the fly wheel and put two rounded pieces of wood that contain magnetics, these two pieces of wood will rotate just like the fly wheel, and you must add a static rounded piece of wood contains bobbins. By this way when the two pieces of wood rotate they cut the magnetic field and electricity is produces in the bobbins!

And that's it! You have made cash from trash. If you like my instructable then send a comment  and vote to me in the green tech contest in the link below:


Devanath (author)2017-11-11

How many days it will take to produce biogas

venkatesank1 (author)2015-10-11

it is amazing

nashie nyl (author)2014-02-10

Is it good to use non biodegradable masses in this project?? i guess it also produce methane gas?! plese reply asap

gkohle (author)2011-08-30

Methane is a hydrocarbon (CH4) and all hydrocarbons produce CO2 and water vapour when burned.

baker amin (author)gkohle2011-08-31

It produces CO. But I read that it does not pollute environment!!

NightLord (author)baker amin2012-09-18

CO does pollute the enviroment, yet it does burn, and if burned it will produce CO2 + H2O :)

gkohle (author)baker amin2011-08-31

It produces CO2 if supplied enough oxygen, CO if the oxygen is restricted during combustion. CO, carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that kills.

photis22 (author)gkohle2012-03-24

burning anything pollutes, what you should keep in mind, though, is that if whatever waist you put in the digester to be consumed were instead moved to a landfill, It would still produce methane, which- unburned is a greenhouse gas almost as prevalent and harmful as CO2, but it would not produce electricity.

Further more, in reference CO (carbon monoxide) it can be deadly, but so can any other gas. look at it this way, you release more carbon monoxide driving to and from work than you would probably produce in a whole day using methane produced by a digester of this caliber, its essentially a harmless way to recycle your waste and lower your electricity or gas bills.

geraldpaxton (author)2012-07-28

I guess methane exploding on contact with air explains the flashes of light I see at night in the cow pasture and the soot I see on the cows' tails in the morning??

ravichaitu16 (author)2012-05-17

this is a cool project that you have made.i want a little clarification.if we use this methane without stopping for how much time this gas can be used for cooking.

tinker234 (author)2012-03-13

cool i might use this to heat a home or cook in a gas stove

Crank2112all (author)2011-08-30

While this is a legitimate way to produce a combustible gas, there are some problems that have not been considered, as well as some misleading statements that I think should be cleared up.

1. Methane is an organic gas, and is the principle component in "natural" gas. Chemical formula is CH4. Burning any organic material of any kind always produces CO2. CH4 + 2 O2 -----> CO2 + 2 H2O

This is pretty basic high school chemistry.

Note: while CO2 will be produced, the amount of sulfides and NOx compounds (the really nasty stuff) produced should be negligible as compared to coal and diesel.

2. While this method will definitely produce methane, it will only produce a very small volume. You would need a much larger reaction chamber and a lot of biomass to produce a usable quantity of gas. Furthermore, if you plan to store the gas, as opposed to burning it as it is released, you would need some way to compress it. And, of course, that would require energy.

3. The assertion that methane contacting air will explode is false. Methane is combustible and concentrations between 5% and 15% in air are explosive, but only if an ignition source is available. Of course, if you plan to burn it, you have to have air available as well.

Overall, this idea is workable, but only at large scale and with the right equipment.

stormy0314 (author)Crank2112all2011-11-15

Buck Minster Fuller, (I think), designed a biogas producer in India to be used in villages. It was a cement tank with a floating cement lid that had a means to introduce bio waste of all kinds, including human, and also a way to divert the methane to a cooker or heater. The heavy cement lid provided the pressure. Not necessarily very efficient, but effective. I read about it years ago but can't find much about it now.

baker amin (author)Crank2112all2011-08-31

Visit the following link and see the book in it. On the book you can see a small scale of the digester and it's used for cooking:
Actually, you don't need to compress it because water produce enough pressure (water make pressure on methane causing it flow through the hose). If you don't have enough pressure, then you can put heavy thing(stone, etc.) on the reservoir to produce pressure. But don't forget to rope it with the reservoir!
And you can watch "planet mechanics" in the episode called "cow power" to see that methane explodes when contacting air!!

Crank2112all (author)baker amin2011-08-31

Then why doesn't natural gas explode when released to the atmosphere? No, pure methane will not explode with exposure to air, but if an ignition source is available, then an explosion may occur. An ignition source may only be static electricity, so it is quite dangerous.

And yes, your idea of using a submerged vessel would suffice to capture the gas. That is a pressurized system, although I'm not sure how much gas you would be able to store and what size water tank. It could get rather large.

baker amin (author)Crank2112all2011-08-31

Did you watch the episode? they made an experiment to show you it explodes! And you can buy the book and chick it.

rimar2000 (author)2011-08-30

Very useful and interesting!

baker amin (author)rimar20002011-08-31


mmarwa (author)baker amin2011-09-12


mohammad khlefat (author)2011-08-31

Excellent machine, and God help you, and God willing, for the better of them and we want you moving in the other machines more creative and beautiful design of these and you sincerely

Thnx man!!

1tri2god (author)2011-08-30

This is a great instructable for getting more people into using alternative energy! But I have to contest one point:
Methane is multiples stronger in producing the green-house gas effect than carbon dioxide. In fact, the thawing of the permafrost is quickly becoming an accelerent for global warming because of the frozen methane being released. That said, burning it- like you are doing here- is a smart way to get energy out of an anaerobic process to release the carbon dioxide that would have been released had it been broken down aerobically anyway.
Other, than the nit-picking, this is a great job! Keep up the good work!

baker amin (author)1tri2god2011-08-31

Thank you. Hope you vote for this instructable!

Kiteman (author)1tri2god2011-08-30

The organics would rot and release methane anyway.

1tri2god (author)Kiteman2011-08-30

You're absolutely right, if in an enclosed space like this, or if packed down in a landfill. But most times, organic material decomposes with enough surface area exposed to the environment that it will decompose aerobically. In fact, this is the purpose of composters like tumblers or of the "spread around your garden" method of organic recycling.
So, its all about how you let it rot.

And, lately, the landfills have been wising up to the free energy they've been producing with anaerobic methane production to the point of capturing the methane to run in gas turbines for electricity production!

sam D (author)2011-08-30

Good instructable! Do you use any yeast or additives to make the digestion faster?

Do you have to clean out the digester occasionally?

baker amin (author)sam D2011-08-31

The best materials to add to the digester is the manure of cows or even human manure. And yes, you can add something called "digester" which helps in this process. See it in planet mechanics in the episode called: cow power.

Some materials don't digest fast such ass plants. And a liquid will appear in the base of the digester so you can remove it and put it on trees, it's useful! You can just "stir" materials in the digester from time to time so the methane can raise up.

About This Instructable




Bio: I live in Jordan and I'm a student in Ittihad High School. I like robotics and technologies. I'm looking forward to study engineering ... More »
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