Help Bring Sustainable Energy to Madagascar

BioD is a novel technology that addresses deforestation and air pollution while saving families time and money. We are team BioD and we’ve invented a household-sized biodigester that we want to introduce to the developing world as a social enterprise.

Biodigesters turn animal waste into methane which can be used for cDebut of our prototype, March 2013ooking and lighting, providing a sustainable alternative to firewood or charcoal. This technology has the potential to make a significant impact on families, communities, and the environment by:

  • Disposing of organic waste — material that otherwise carries pathogens, produces greenhouse gases when it decomposes, and is generally smelly stuff that no one wants around.
  • Producing methane gas which can be used for cooking and lighting, and a nutrient-rich sludge that is an excellent fertilizer.
  • Reducing deforestation and all the devastating consequences that go along with it.
  • Reducing the incidence of respiratory illnesses which are responsible for one in eight deaths in the developing world.
  • Saving users time and money, which can help lift families out of poverty.
  • Requiring very little maintenance and being easy to operate.

Plan of the BioD

  Our Invention

Maybe you’ve seen biodigesters before and are wondering what’s different about our product. Traditional biodigesters are big projects that involve digging holes and pouring concrete, are harder to maintain because they’re underground, and cost at least twice as much as our product. The BioD can be purchased and maintained by a single household, and can be moved around as the household’s needs change. And because it’s made out of easily procured materials, in the unlikely event that a component needs replacing it’s a simple repair.

Initial Visit to Madagascar – May 2013

While many places could benefit from our technology, we’ve chosen Madagascar for our piloting stage because deforestation and poverty are both pressing concerns there. Over 85% of the island’s flora and fauna are endemic, encompassing 5% of the world’s biodiversity. But Madagascar is also one of the poorest countries in the world, with most residents living on less than $2 per day. While the Malagasy take pride in their country’s unique biodiversity, deforestation is an unavoidable part of their lives as many rely on charcoal and firewood for cooking.

The BioD will provide an alternative that will ultimately save them time and money while also reducing the rate of deforestation and loss of ecosystems. And perhaps most importantly it will reduce indoor air pollution, which is responsible for the high rate or respiratory ailments among the rural Malagasy.

University of Antananarivo Students

Of course, even the best technology can fail to achieve its goals if it’s not marketed and distributed properly. That’s why our team includes experts in international development, public health, and education as well as engineering, and why we’ve partnered with organizations in Madagascar such as the Peace Corps, Rotary Club, and University of Antananarivo. As a token of our appreciation we would like to share the beauty of this unique island nation with you. That’s why every donor will receive a thank-you card featuring photo taken during our trip and email updates as the project matures, so you can see the difference your donation is making in the lives of people there. As the Malagasy like to say: “All who live under the sky are woven together like one big mat.”

For more information visit http://www.biodenergy.org/. Do you know someone who’s interested in wildlife conservation, poverty alleviation, alternative energy, or interesting new technologies? Please consider sharing this story with them!

Ampefy, Madagascar

This August we will be traveling to Madagascar to pilot the BioD, and we need your help to make this happen!

The purpose of piloting is to test the prototype in a typical community where people would use the BioD, and use their feedback to improve the business before it officially launches. Your donation will provide us with the funding to accomplish the following tasks:

  • Pilot the BioD prototype in one to two communities.
  • Conduct a household-level survey and focus group interviews to assess the needs of these communities.
  • Conduct market analysis for biogas technology, cookstoves, and environmental preservation activities.
  • Gather baseline metrics to monitor and evaluate the project.
  • Continue our environmental and human health education campaign in these communities.
  • Meet with local distributors and parts manufacturers to discuss potential partnerships.
  • Meet with local NGOs and government ministries to discuss partnerships.
  • Meet with coffee farmers to discuss exporting coffee beans to the US, which will provide additional income for buying BioDs.
  • Meet with students, local entrepreneurs, and Peace Corps volunteers to discuss expanding the project to other communities.
  • Meet with key project stakeholders to discuss the project plan and create a timeline for next steps.

Every $100 will allow us to host an educational session in a pilot community. Every $250 will allow us to build a BioD. A total of $500 will cover our lodging and transportation expenses during the trip, and a total of $2000 will be invested in equipment to improve the quality of coffee beans for sale in the US market.

Any funds raised beyond our tipping point will be used to support monitoring and evaluation of the pilot, as well as future assessment trips.

Thank you for your support! 

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