Data and Analysis
In order for this experiment to work, and to give a more assured representation of the results, a reactor-based method was used.
In an experiment performed in Sahilian West Africa, with six anaerobic digesters, researchers wanted to see how much methane gas could be produced to equate the amount to that of 2.5 kg of firewood which is traditionally used for cooking in a maternity facility. The given in this situation is that 1 cubic meter of biogas (or 1,000 liters) equals 2.5 kg of firewood. In order to meet their cooking needs, 8 cubic meters of biogas/day would be needed.
First of all, 300 kg of dry weight water hyacinth was combined with 1,000 kg of rumen residue in a 1:3 ratio. (The rumen is part of a cow's stomach.) This combination was diluted with a liquid solution and entered into a digester. This would total 1,300 kg of total biomass.
The equipment used to measure the amount of methane was a hand crafted (water column) pressure gauge.
Data was collected over a 65 day period in the warm season. The total volume produced during that time frame was around 151,000 liters (151 cubic meters) of methane gas extracted from the1,300 kgs of composite biomass accumulated for digestion. This would equal approximately 116 liters of biogas per kg of combined biomass digested.
The experiment was a success. The bioreactor was able to produce 8 cubic meters of biogas per day year round.
So this experiment makes it appear that this method of making alternative fuel would indeed be quite useful. I would expect in poor countries, this would really be in their best interest as opposed to purchasing regular fuel (natural gas) or using fire wood.