Mini Bio-gas Plant Using Food Waste, Decomposable Organic Material and Kitchen Waste




Introduction: Mini Bio-gas Plant Using Food Waste, Decomposable Organic Material and Kitchen Waste

About: I like to make things more simple with easily available resources. My favorite quote: A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write...

I have been searching for some method of using the food waste, decomposable organic material and kitchen waste efficiently, and came across information on producing bio-gas from organic waste.

The bio-gas produced from food waste, decomposable organic material and kitchen waste, consisting of methane and a little amount of carbon di oxide is an alternative fuel for cooking gas (LPG). Also, the waste materials can be disposed off efficiently without any odor or flies and the digested slurry from the bio-gas unit can be used as an organic manure in the garden.

Components of the Bio-gas Plant

The major components of the bio-gas plant are a digester tank, an inlet for feeding the kitchen waste, gas holder tank, an outlet for the digested slurry and the gas delivery system for taking out and utilizing the produced gas.

This project is also useful for students to have a hands-on learning experience in constructing a Mini Bio-Gas Plant, using locally available material.

Material Required:

1. Empty PVC can 50 ltrs capacity: 1 No. (to be used as Digester Tank)
2. Empty PVC can 40 ltrs capacity: 1 no. (to be used as Gas Holder Tank) (Make sure the smaller can fits inside larger one and moves freely)
3. 64 mm dia pvc pipe: about 40 cm long (to be used for feeding waste material)
4. 32 mm dia pvc pipe: about 50 cm long (fixed inside gas holder tank as a guide pipe)
5. 25 mm dia pvc pipe: about 75 cm long (fixed inside the digester tank as a guide pipe)
6. 32 mm dia pvc pipe: about 25 cm long (fixed on digester tank to act as outlet for digested slurry)
7. M-seal or any water-proof adeshive
8. Gas outlet system: Please see Step 4 below for required materials and construction

Tools required

Do not require many tools here. A hack saw blade for cutting the cans & pipes and a sharp knife for cutting holes on the cans are all the tools we need.

Additional accessories

A single burner bio-gas stove or a Bunsen Burner used in school laboratories

Step 1:

Bought this 50 ltrs capacity PVC can, which will act as the digester unit and removed the top portion of the can, by cutting it with a hack saw blade:

Step 2:

The smaller white can, which will act as the gas holder fits inside the red one. Here, again removed the top of the white can, also with the help of a hack saw blade:

Step 3:

64 mm, 32 mm and 25 mm dia PVC pipes which  will be used for feeding the kitchen waste, guide pipe for the gas holder and guide pipe fixed with the digestion chamber respectively. A small piece of 32 mm dia pipe will be used as outlet for the slurry:

Step 4:

  1. items required for the gas delivery system: got these items from a hardware store

1. Ball valve : one no ( to adjust the gas flow)
2. 'T' joint : one no ( to connect the gas holder and the ball valve)
3. Cap to block one end of 'T' joint : one no
4. Coupling or Adapter : one no (to connect vertical end of 'T' in to the gas collector)
5. Nipple: one no (added to the coupling in to the gas collector)
6. Gas pipe (flexible) : two meters
7. Barb : one no (fitted with the gas pipe, to join with the Ball valve)
8. Clip : one no (used for crimping the barb with the gas pipe and make it leak-proof)
9. Teflon tape : one roll (used as thread tape in all joints)

Step 5:

Here I have marked the cuts to be made in the bottom of the gas collection tank. The smaller hole on the left for gas delivery system, center hole for fixing the 32 mm guide pipe and 64 mm hole for fixing the waste feeding pipe on the right side. Made these holes with the help of a sharp knife and hack saw blade.

The next image is Inside of the gas holder showing the 32 mm guide pipe (center) and the 64 mm feeding pipe fixed with M-seal

Step 6:

Top view of the gas holder showing the feeding pipe, central guide pipe and the gas delivery system: I have closed the feeding pipe withe an old lid  (red one). This will facilitate opening the feed pipe only during feeding the system.

Step 7:

Digestion tank fitted with the central guide pipe and the outlet pipe for the slurry:

Step 8:

Completed unit. I have removed the gas pipe, so that the joints will get cured without any stress:

Wait for a day or two before feeding the system, allowing all joints to get cured and become leak-proof.

Initially, cow-dung mixed with water will be fed in to the system, which will start the gas formation process. Subsequently, food waste, decomposable organic material and kitchen waste will be diluted with water and used to feed the system. The gas holder will rise along the guide pipes based on the amount of gas produced. We can add some weight on top of the gas holder to increase the gas pressure. When we feed the system, the excess digested slurry will fall out through the outlet pipe, which can be collected, diluted and used as organic manure.

Initial production of gas will consist of oxygen, methane, carbon di oxide and some other gases and will not burn. These gases can be released to the atmosphere by opening the ball valve at least three / four times.

Subsequent gas will consist of about 70 to 80 percent methane and the rest carbon di oxide, which can be used in a single bio-gas burning stove or a Bunsen burner.

Total cost of this proto-type system is about one thousand Indian Rupees (about 20 dollars)

This is a basic prototype of a Bio-gas system using the food waste, decomposable organic material and kitchen waste to produce gas. An one thousand litre capacity Digestion tank will be sufficient for a small household for daily cooking purpose. The bigger commercial models provide a water seal between the digestion tank and gas holder tank.

You can get further information on kitchen waste based mini Bio-gas plant at the following links:

Step 9:

Charged the digester tank with cow dung diluted with water. Placed the gas holder tank and left it for two three days. The cow dung slurry started the process of gas forming.

Gas formation started and the gas holder tank gets lifted up. I have placed two bricks on top of the gas holder to get more gas pressure.

Step 10:

Note for students who are doing this as their School Project:

1. Take guidance from your teacher while using the gas in a stove or Bunsen burner.
2. Collect surplus food and wastage during lunch, dilute and feed the system.
3. Fruit peels, extracted tea powder, waste milk and milk products  can also be used for feeding the system.
4. DO NOT USE eggshells, Onion peels or left-over bones in this system as they will affect the efficient functioning of the system
5. Plant some seedling
6. while feeding, collect the slurry from the outlet, feed the seedlings and watch them grow

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1,751 Discussions

Hello sir
Can i use 3 days old cowdung as i am unable to get fresh dung.
Waiting for your reply..

Hello sir
Can I use 3 days cowdung as initial feed as I am unable to the fresh dung.
Please answer.

It guides the up and down movement of Gas holder inside the Digester


Question 5 months ago

first u tell me the the pipe set in digester tank in orange drum hote in buttom or not .

1 more answer

There is no hole in the bottom of orange drum. The pipe is set with drum using adhesive

The white inverted bucket inside the red one is the gas storage.

The white inverted bucket inside the red one is the gas storage. I have put some bricks on top to provide some gas pressure

Sir suppose that I only need the biogas part and not the slurry part for our school project, and that I only need a one time biogas amount (as in, I will not have to continuously put waste and just need to produce biogas once) what design modifications should I do? And would it take less time to produce biogas?

3 replies

For a school project it is better to present the entire set up including the digester and gas holder. In case you want to show how biogas burns then you can collect the gas in a car tyre tube and carry to school

There is no such thing as less time to produce Biogas. Have patience and wait

I will try to do this with the process above, but I have a few questions if you don't mind:
1. Is it alright if the cow dung used is air-dried?
2. Will Biogas still be produced with smaller digester and gas tanks?
3. How much cow dung would be needed, and how much water do I add for the initial cow dung slurry?
4. I am looking into using rotten vegetables to put in here, would that be okay? and how do we put it in? Do we just insert it or do we have to do something to them?
5. Do you think combustible biogas will be made here in a span of 10 days?

1. use fresh cow dung only for starting gas formation
2. Yes, biogas will be produced in smaller models also
3. for a 1000 ltr volume digester use 5 kilograms of cow dung. Mix with water at 1:20 ratio (1 cow dung and 20 water)
4. Once gas formation starts, you can feed rotten vegetables also. You should have some short of arrangement as I have shown for feeding the waste material without gas leakage
5. Yes, in 10 days time you will have combustible Biogas


Question 6 months ago

I'm a student and I have a deadline in 2 weeks, and I'll need to do some testing even before. What can I do to speed up the process? Hoping for at least less than a week....

1 more answer

Do not add anything other than cow dung slurry and organic waste. You have got enough time. Once gas formation starts, then you can feed organic waste in small quantities. Make sure there is no leakage

Initial gas produced will not burn. Release the gas 2/3 times before testing. Use a Bunsen burner to test and DO NOT use a lighted match stick for testing. Add some weight on top of gas holder to get pressure.

Hello, Sir! In our first attempt it did not work due to leaks. We have already sealed everything, there is still no gas formation. What do we need to do? Thanks and hoping for a reply ASAP

1 more answer

Feed little amount of organic waste and wait for a few more days, if there is no leakage then gas formation will take place. First 2/3 batches of gas produced will not burn. Just release it. Once gas formation starts, you can start feeding the digester in small quantities regularly

Sir! I am a student please help ASAP, there was no gas formed, there are no leaks it is completely sealed

1 reply

Please explain what did you do with photos. Gas will form in a few days time and will not take a month. Immediately when the gas formation started, feeding should be started for getting continuous gas