Rebecca Larson helps bring anaerobic digester systems to Uganda, Bolivia

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 11.14.26 AMAs described in this recent Wisconsin Energy Institute story, Rebecca Larson, an assistant professor in the biological systems engineering department, has spent some time designing, installing and upgrading small-scale anaerobic digester (AD) systems in Uganda over the course of the past year. Now the project, which has generated much enthusiasm among users, is set to expand to South America.

A Bolivian university expressed interest in learning about AD technology, if a prototype could be provided and shown to operate under local conditions. With the help of a new WEI seed grant, Larson is set to travel with postdoctoral fellow Horacio Aguirre-Villegas to Bolivia in March to install and test an AD system there.

Larson’s small-scale AD systems are designed to turn animal manure, human waste, food waste, etc. into biogas that can be used directly for cooking, lighting or heating, or can be used indirectly to create electricity. It works well, but there’s room for improvement.

As the story puts it:

“Larson and her team are now using the WEI seed grant funds to improve the efficiency and environmental benefits of these systems, and to adapt them to the unique needs of their users. Specifically, they want to improve the digester’s management of human waste, reduce its water needs, increase the amount of energy it produces, and generate fertilizer to boost food crop yields.”

More details are available in the full story. Read it here.