In Brazil! 5/11/13

posted May 11, 2013, 12:25 PM by Ethan Shirley
The three of us arrived together early Wednesday afternoon. After a brief trip to the Brazilian equivalent
of Sam’s Club, we drove to the Nazaré Orphanage where we have been staying since. On Thursday we
went into Poconé to buy materials for our biodigester. Yesterday we taught an English class to the kids
at the orphanage. We covered introductions, numbers, key phrases such as “What is that?” and “How
do you say… in English?” in addition to a few simple nouns like cat, dog, and bird. The kids were very
excited to learn and we ended up teaching them more material than what was on the initial lesson plan.
After the class we spent a few hours speaking a mixture of English and Portuguese with the kids. We
talked about music, shared popular dances, and listened to them play guitar.

Tomorrow we are going to PCER to assemble the telescoping biodigester and fill it with manure. We
plan to stay at PCER for about ten days to construct the biodigester and conduct initial measurements
of methane production. We will also revisit the biodigester designed by former student Adrienne
Lemberger. Adrienne’s biodigester leaked and had no system in place to store gas. It was disassembled
for parts in the years following since no one was using it. We would like to reconstruct Adrienne’s
biodigester and address these issues of leakage and gas collection. After we build the two biodigesters,
we will devise a system for organic waste collection and analyze feasibility of maintenance. Our end
goal is to build two different biodigesters and compare their efficiencies. Based on these results we
will decide which design is better suited to supply cooking gas to the stove. These biodigesters we are
building this week are test versions, the data from which we will use to scale a future, larger biodigester
that can produce enough methane gas to power the PCER stove.