Biogas All Stars: Marcello Ambrosio


| 11/18/2014 9:12:00 AM


I will continue the step-by-step introduction to home scale biogas for those interested in learning how to make it with my next post. In the meantime, I thought it might be helpful to mix things up with what I call my Biogas All-Stars series. These are posts where I will highlight one of my colleagues in the international biogas community and let them to answer questions about their projects in their own words.

I believe MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers will find this series useful, as it will offer examples of different types of regionally-appropriate digester designs. These All-stars inspire us all with their resourcefulness and dedication, working with locally available materials in often inhospitable – sometimes even dangerous - conditions to build biogas digesters to transform the lives of people who need it most. The Biogas All-Stars do not appear in any order. I would like to begin with one of the most likeable people I have ever met, Marcello Ambrosio, with the Studio Ambrosio Agricultural Consulting, from Italy.

Marcello (pronounced March-ello) and I met in New York City during a conference for Solar CITIES, an international non-profit biogas education and training organization we both belong to. He is a big fan of Western movies, and once worked as a cowboy in Wyoming during a visit to the U.S. When it comes to building biogas digesters, however, he is definitely the Lone Ranger. Usually working by himself, he has single-handedly built digesters as large as 100 cubic meters (26,000 gallons).  

 marcello

Marcello specializes in the most common type of biogas digester in the world, the Chinese underground pit-type digester. There are an estimated 50 million of these type digesters in China. They are usually built underground for gas production throughout the cold Chinese winters. The advantage of this type is it allows those willing to get their hands dirty an opportunity to trade labor for material costs. With a readily available supply of bricks and mortar, this type of digester can be built for very little money. Building and operating plans for these types of digesters are available in ‘A Chinese Biogas Manual,’ which can be purchased through online book retailers or a free PDF Copy.



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