Recycle BE: Recycling water, producing energy
February 7, 2023
Written by: Samory Araújo, Head of Solutions Mapping, UNDP Cabo Verde Accelerator Lab
Water shortage, a global challenge
Climate change is a planetary phenomenon with an impact on all countries, but its effects are being shaped by inequality in access to water, gas, basic goods: namely agricultural products, which has caused some food shortages. Rising product prices and extreme weather variations disproportionately affect peripheral neighborhoods. This is because in the urban peripheries, poverty is more likely to advance during periods of instability.
Across Cabo Verde islands climate change, coupled with water overconsumption, is causing droughts and water shortages. Aside from the obvious threat to public health, the subsequent effects of water shortage can vary from food insecurity to increased social and economic conflicts, highlighting the importance of protecting water resources and using them sustainably. And it is within this framework that a young innovator from Jean Piaget University Patrick Gomes, created the project “Recycle BE” a fully autonomous project of water recycling and gas production.
The Recycle BE project was presented by Patrick Gomes at Lab Open Day in 2021, and after the sense work the UNDP/ Accelerator Lab Cabo Verde in partnership with Jean Piaget University and Praia Municipality support choose a family from a community with low-income for a test or prototype implementation. The selection of a family with few economic resources, from a semi-rural community in the city of Praia, was carried out with the support of the local community association.
The prototype project worked in three phases:
- Phase one which was the phase of accumulation, was where it received all the wastewater, including slat
- The second phase, which was the infiltration phase of all waters and the third phase the collection of the slat from the accumulated gas production in the housing
- The first and second phase entered recession from the wastewater in the deposit and filtering of the water to the water in agriculture.
The third phase of the process was the production of gas and here we can see in the deposit a quantity of gases and the production of gas piped into kitchen of which can also be used to produce electricity.
Monitoring: operation, and evolution
- The prototype was installed on November 6, 2021
- February 6, 2022, with the monitoring of the project, autonomy was verified in the reuse of wastewater and cultivation irrigation.
- March 19, 2022, there was autonomy in the production of Biogas
Scale- Up under RBA Programme
The implementation of a prototype of recycle BE project in a low-income family at Praia city rural area had positive impact, with recycling water for agriculture and some amount of biogas; in the framework of the implementation of the prototype and following the working methodologies, the Accelerator Lab applied to the Scale- up RBA Programme to use more financial resources and consequently benefit more communities. The Recycle BE was selected with the amount of twenty thousand dollars (20.000 USD).
For the use of that amount the Lab selected Pedro Gomes secondary school frequented by students who are mostly from the outskirts of the city of Praia; comes from backgrounds with few resources, which is why it is essential for the school to maintain a vegetable garden to supply agricultural products to the canteen that serves hot meals to its students. To support the school in mobilizing water resources for agriculture, and gas production that will serve not only for the school canteen but also to produce electricity the UNDP/ Accelerator Lab Cabo Verde is implementing in collaboration with Jean Piaget University and Pedro Gomes Secondary school Recycle BE.
The implementation of Recycle BE at the Pedro Gomes School is in the process of collecting samples of raw and treated wastewater and preparing the QCP (quality control plan) taking into account the treatment used and the regulatory decree for irrigation water.
This project aims to transform the accumulated sludge in the sewage tank into gas for use in the kitchen and other reproductions of energy. Recycle BE was designed to be economical and accessible to all, using existing raw materials in the Country and can be executed with various types of materials, and or reuse materials that take time to degrade in the environment. It is intended to ensure the reuse of saponaceous or black waters mainly for agriculture.
The gas released by excrement is harmful to the environment and contributes to degradation of the ozone layer and causes the greenhouse effect. The reuse of these excrements in the production of gas for the kitchen reduces the effect that would be caused in the environment.