Educative mini-biodigester

Designed and developped in Fablab U. de Chile

Education Energy & environment Recycling & upcycling

It is a didactic model that allows knowing and understanding the process of anaerobic biodigestion and the necessary conditions to achieve an efficient process of generation of biogas and digestate with organic residues at home.

Technologies used

3D printing Arduino Computing & softwares CNC
  • What’s the project story?

The growing generation of organic waste is a topic of interest for the different social and productive sectors of Chile due to its impact on the environment. Until now, the management of organic waste is generally reactive and biased, limited to collection and final disposal. In 2014, 94.4% of municipal waste went directly to the final destination and only 5.6% was valorized. However, advances in science and technology have allowed us to demonstrate that, if we separate the waste and treat it correctly, “garbage” is transformed as valuable raw materials. To sensitize the future actors of our society on this topic and to make them understand the potential of such solutions, Energy Innovation Academy, promoted by the Regional Corporation for Productive Development of Coquimbo (CRDP) and financed by the Fund for Strengthening and Articulation of Professional Technical Education of the Ministry of Education, seeks to link the formation of technical high schools with renewable energies (solar, wind and biogas) in 8 lyceums in the Coquimbo region, Chile. I work in the company Ecodesino.cl as an industrial designer with 2 other members, Alejandro Chacón Aguirre, a mechanical engineer and funder and Cecilia Mujica Muñoz, an industrial designer and project coordinator. With our experience in ecodesign, we applied to the convocation with this idea of mini-biodigester in order to promote this technology inspired by nature while applying ecodesign methodology.

  • How the workshop was useful?

The use of 3D software and digital technologies from the FabLab allowed us to design and to quickly prototype this project, at low cost and with less environmental impacts. They offer us the space to work and store our project and the support required to design with 3D software and then digitally make the model. It should be noted that the Fablab is a multidisciplinary cooperative workplace, in which meetings are held periodically to review the projects of each entrepreneur to benefit from the precious experience and skills of the community members. Moreover, the lab also gathers students, teachers and professionals from diverse areas, both Chilean and foreign, involved into technological innovation, who contributed to the project, helping us to identify the lines of improvement. The cooperation of the Fablab with the other laboratories of the University enables us to measure and study the operating parameters, such as pH and alkalinity, thanks to the collaboration of the Biotechnology laboratory.

  • What’s the project’s greatest success so far?

The adoption of the project in 8 high-schools through the involvement of the teachers. We reached the objective entrusted by the government and we succeeded to go further by communicating about the Ecodesign methodology and benefit we used to design it.

  • What’s your greatest failure(s)& lesson(s) so far?

We had to iterate more times than expected, in particular to install and program the Arduino linked to the sensors. We faced also the challenge to work on this project meanwhile performing our professional activities. For now, this activity is not lucrative for us but it makes sense and we hope to develop it to increase its impact and generate income that would enable us to carry on.

  • What’s your vision for the project & next steps?

We aim to improve the first version we made based on the feedback we got from the users and to deploy it in more institutions.

  • How anyone interested can contribute to the project?

Anyone interested to help us in this project deployment is welcome!

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