Make a Biogas Generator to Produce Your Own Natural Gas

Transform grass clippings, food waste and livestock manure into renewable energy via a homemade biogas generator.

By Paul Scheckel
Updated on January 3, 2022
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by Isaac Marquez
A 200-gallon biogas generator in Oregon turns 15 pounds of food waste into cooking fuel daily. As food and yard waste decompose, methane and carbon dioxide are created, inflating the rubber bladder to create the pressure necessary to supply a gas burner.

You can use many household organic “waste” materials to produce your own natural gas for cooking, lighting, and space and water heating. This gas, known as “biogas,” can also replace fossil-based natural gas to fuel an engine or an absorption cooling system, such as a gas refrigerator or chiller. Some gasoline engines are designed for or can be modified for use with natural gas, propane or biogas. Diesel engines can accept up to 80 percent biogas.

Biogas is a mixture of primarily flammable gases — mostly methane — along with carbon dioxide that forms anywhere organic material decomposes anaerobically (without oxygen), such as in water, deep in a landfill, or in the guts of animals, including you.

I prefer the term “generator” for the system, because it conveys the intention of producing something. By constructing a home biogas generator, you can make enough fuel to at least provide your cooking energy. A family with modest daily cooking needs will at a minimum require the output of a warm, well-fed, 200-gallon (27-cubic-foot) generator. This much biogas will allow for about one hour of daily stovetop cooking. Start small to develop an understanding of biogas by making a small generator from a single 55-gallon barrel.

Home Much Homemade Biogas Energy Can You Make?

concrete biogas generator with a sign next to it with bigas digester on it
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