homesteading, Offgrid

BUILDING A METHANE DIGESTER OUT OF A IBC TOTE


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One of the things you really need when off grid is propane and propane costs money and seems to go up in the winter to as high as 3 bucks a gallon. That’s a big chunk of change and having to drive into town to get it or fill a large rented or leased a tank from one of the propane companies. We decided we were going to give building a methane digester a try and see if we could make some fuel and eliminate a lot of our propane use.

Our boys painting the tote
IBC tote with 2 inch PVC pipe installed.

 

2 inch valve on methane output side. ready for a adapter down to 1/4 inch.

Get a 335 Gallon tote or 1300 Litre for you Metric system folks, drill a 3-inch hole and order 3, 2 inch Uniseals (U-200) from the Uniseal warehouse in Florida. They are about 3 bucks each. I ordered four just in case I ruined one with my installation….LOL  😯

I would recommend getting some trim adhesive, you can get it at Autozone or any parts store it’s in a tube and it comes in black or yellow. I suggest the black its better and stronger. Once you cut the three-inch holes glue the Uniseals on the tote with the black adhesive. You will need to cut three 2 inch PVC pipes to fit in your totes. The feeder pipe needs an angle cut at the bottom so the poo and food you feed it will come out on the bottom of the pipe inside the tote. The next pipe needs a hole cut about the middle of the tote this is the by-product pipe to allow the fertilizer and add a three-way fitting so you don’t get a siphon effect and drain your tote when you are feeding it. You need to make sure you measure the pipes with the Uniseals out first. The last pipe needs a hole cut right at the edge of the Uniseal inside the tote to allow methane to exit the tote through this third pipe. You will need to build or buy a bag or a couple plastic barrels to hold the methane, it has to be used asap or continuously never allow pressure to build as that can cause an explosion.

You can get a 55-gallon barrel and a 30 gallon and set them up to fit the 30 to fit inside the 55 upsides down with the top cut out and make 4 pins to stop the 30 from coming out of the 55. Look it up on youtube and I will post instructions. Put a fitting in the bottom of the 30 so you can use the methane gas as its made and kept under a small amount of pressure. You can use natural gas orifices in your stoves and ovens and do no have to convert to propane orifices to use methane.

Uniseal installed

The third pipe with has to be glued since the gas could escape out any leak in this pipe the other two will have a liquid seal. Use a 3/4 inch valve so you can shut off the methane if needed. mix some dish soap and water and spray it on all your fittings for the methane output side if it bubbles you have a leak.  you will need to get a reducer from two inches to 3/4 then you can go smaller if needed to run the methane to a holding tank or bag. Once you have it setup put 5 five gallon buckets of Pig, Cow, Chicken poop and leftover food into the tote. Once you get the poo in, fill the tote 2/3 full of water and wait 2 days. You need to do a test for methane generation then, fill to 1/4 full if you get methane. You need to feed this every day just like an animal. You will get liquid fertilizer too so put a bucket under the right pipe. this tote may cover your cooking needs but Im not sure yet if it will cover all your propane needs. We will see how it works and keep you informed of our progress. The digester needs to be about 90 degrees to allow the bacteria to grow any less and nothing will happen. I plan on making a heat box below a steel plate between the pallet and plastic part of the tote kinda like a pilot in an older stove to heat my digester and keep it functioning. I have an old stove that is natural gas and will post my progress on making a 24/7 pilot light to aid the temp and allow the digester to maintain the desired temp for methane generation.

http://www.aussieglobe.com/

 

Check the cap and make sure there are no holes and if there are you will need to replace with a two inch PVC plug.

 

Make sure your valve does not leak!
Our painted IBC tote methane digester.

https://simplygridless.com

 

 

 

 

1 thought on “BUILDING A METHANE DIGESTER OUT OF A IBC TOTE

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