HAITI / BIO-DIGESTOR

08-Dec-2009 00:02:34
The "biodigestor" - a pilot project in a poor neighborhood in Port-au-Prince is making methane gas for electricity, using human waste from public toilets. If successful, the project would provide an alternative, green fuel to wood charcoal, and could help the country overcome its massive environmental problems linked to deforestation. MINUSTAH
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STORY: HAITI / BIODIGESTOR
TRT: 2.34
SOURCE: MINUSTAH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: PORTUGUESE / CREOLE / NATS

DATELINE: 8 DECEMBER 2009, PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, street in Belair neighborhood of Port-au-Prince (Haiti)
2. Med shot, young boy washing himself with soap in street
3. Tracking shot, boy’s face covered with soap
4. Pan left, façade of Viva Rio’s public toilets (Kay Nou)
5. Pan left, girl paying attendant to enter public toilets
6. Med shot, toilet door opening showing clean toilets
7. Tracking shot, water faucet
8. Wide shot, sinks
9. SOUNDBITE Creole) Aline Saint-Fort, Public Bathroom Attendant:
“Other public toilets are no where near as clean. And they are expensive. In most places in the city you pay five or even ten cents to use the bathroom – that’s ten times what we charge.”
10. Pan left, sign advocating good hygiene, pan to young man entering toilets
11. Wide shot, Brazilian engineer climbs stairs to the biodigestor tanks
12. Wide shot, engineer opens the gas lines on the top of the biodigestor tanks
13. Tracking shot, hand unscrewing top of the gas line
14. Med shot, engineer lights the gas line to flame
15. Tracking ahot, flame coming from gas line
16. SOUNDBITE (Portuguese) Valmir FACHINI, Project Coordinator, Viva Rio:
“The way it works is simple. The waste comes from the toilets, and gets dumped into the reaction tank. This starts the fermentation process, the produces bio-gas. The gas crosses a column of water, and comes to rest at the top of the tank. This bio-gas can be used for cooking and electricity.”
17. Tracking shot, change of focus between gas line and green foliage around the tank
18. SOUNDBITE (Portuguese) Valmir FACHINI, Project Coordinator, Viva Rio:
“This reactor has a capacity to produce 50 cubic meters of biogas per day. This will generate 3000 watts of electricity per 24 hours.”
19. Pan left, gas line connected to a simple stove top
20. Wide shot, woman cooking
21. Tracking shot, flame from biogas heating the pot of water
22. Zoom out, algae and lily pads on a shallow man-made fish pond
23. Med shot, duck eating larvae in the pond
24. Tilt down, mural of a fish pan to surface of the pond
25. SOUNDBITE (Portuguese) Valmir FACHINI, Project Coordinator, Viva Rio:
“Here in these tanks, the water comes rich with nutrients. The sunlight permits the production of algae. And the algae are the primary food source for fish.”
26. Med shot, bucket with people walking on a street in Port-au-Prince
27. Med shot, boy rinsing himself with a bucket of water
STORYLINE
One poor neighborhood in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, is the scene of a new pilot project that will provide new sources of energy, and improve basic sanitation on the streets.

The project starts with some public toilets. Here, for the price of about a penny (US$0.01) residents have the chance to clean up, and use the bathroom. In most Haitian cities, people don’t have access to running water. So modern toilets are a real luxury. Particularly when they are open to the public.

SOUNDBITE (Creole) Aline Saint-Fort, Public Bathroom Attendant:
“Other public toilets are no where near as clean. And they are expensive. In most places in the city you pay five or even ten cents to use the bathroom – that’s ten times what we charge.”

With the capacity to take one thousand users a day, the project hopes to improve sanitation. But the real benefit is a by-product produced in the yard outside. Engineers with Viva Rio, the Brazilian NGO that runs the project, built this large underground reaction tank called a “biodigestor”. Inside it are bacteria that are transforming human waste into methane gas – a biofuel that can be used as a powerful, and virtually free, source of energy.

SOUNDBITE (Portuguese) Valmir FACHINI, Project Coordinator, Viva Rio:
“The way it works is simple. The waste comes from the toilets, and gets dumped into the reaction tank. This starts the fermentation process, the produces bio-gas. The gas crosses a column of water, and comes to rest at the top of the tank. This bio-gas can be used for cooking and electricity.”

The fermentation inside the bio-digestor also enriches the roots of the surrounding foliage, which act as a filter for liquid waste.

SOUNDBITE (Portuguese) Valmir FACHINI, Project Coordinator, Viva Rio:
“This reactor has a capacity to produce fifty cubic meters of biogas per day. This will generate 3000 watts of electricity per twenty four hours.”

Biogas is cheap and easy to produce. If the project is replicated, it could give Haitians green alternatives to charcoal fuel. This would combat deforestation – the underlying cause of the country’s massive environmental problems.

And that’s not all. Filtered water coming out of the bio-digestor is rich in nutrients and can support many forms of plant and animal life. Ducks feed on insect larvae. And fish prosper here. With proper care this pond will become a fishery, creating food and jobs in the neighborhood.

SOUNDBITE (Portuguese) Valmir FACHINI, Project Coordinator, Viva Rio:
“Here in these tanks, the water comes rich with nutrients. The sunlight permits the production of algae. And the algae are the primary food source for fish.”

So one pilot project in Port-au-Prince is helping an underserved neighborhood to produce green energy – and improve sanitation at the same time.
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