Biogas for zero-waste agriculture

A SIMPLE setup called an anaerobic digester which converts organic matter into biogas is key to the innovation that Muntinlupa City is showing as a way to turn farm waste into clean cooking fuel.

Along with composting machines, the city takes the path to zero-waste agriculture and a circular economy with this technology at the Environmental Sanitation Center (ESC) in Tunasan.

The ESC is committed to achieving a successful ecological solid waste management system by operating a citywide waste segregation project.

It encourages all stakeholders to purposefully sort out waste and utilize these as inputs to production, ultimately achieving a circular economy in the metropolis.

Glenn Gregorio, Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) director, noted that due to the potential of waste-to-energy benefits, a SEARCA team conducted a study on the biogas digester technology. SEARCA initiated a field visit as part of an educational pursuit and awareness building on rice-straw-to-energy conversion.

"The undertaking will seek a wider reach and impact among farmers in Laguna and Nueva Ecija," Gregorio added.

The team, an implementer of the Rice Straw Biogas Hub (RSBH) project, promotes harnessing biogas technology to add value to a largely discarded or untapped agricultural resource which is the rice straw.

According to SEARCA, this Department of Science and Technology's biogas digester technology proved instrumental in achieving its purpose.

SEARCA biogas energy consultant Victor Luis Jr. and ESC division head Vincent Alon showed the process of converting biogas and compost generation from waste.

They explained that the sludge, which is a by-product of the biogas digester, is used for seeding or introducing bacteria before feeding fruit, vegetable and sawdust waste into the composter.

The generated soil compost branded as "Muntinlupa" is used for the city's greening program while other trash materials from packaging are sewn into useful eco bags.

Luis said he envisions scaling up the management of rice straw residues through a centralized biogas facility operated by private and public institutions.

Eric Reynoso, SEARCA's Emerging Innovation for Growth Department program head, added that "mechanisms, such as biogas digesters, would be instrumental in remote areas and farms where access to electricity is lacking."

The RSBH project team is set to conduct training on biogas technology during the first quarter of 2024. SEARCA invites individuals interested in the functions of a biogas digester and how it can be maximized using rice straw as an input. For inquiries, contact