Biodigester fuels sustainable livelihoods

23 July 2012

UCT engineering students and christinaConnections: Matthew Koehorst, Christina Kaba (operations manager for Harvest of Hope and SCAGA micro-farmer), Paul Mesarcik, Rethabile Melamu and Francois Petsousis.

A group of UCT engineering students have put green energy into practice, and at the same time have extended a helping hand to a local community initiative.

Four members of the UCT student chapter of Engineers Without Borders have designed and donated a biodigester to the Siyazama Community Allotment Garden Association (SCAGA) in Khayelitsha. The biodigester will serve two purposes - it will produce liquid fertiliser, for the gardens, from the association's garden waste; and it will also extract methane gas that will be pumped to the SCAGA kitchen, where it will fuel a gas cooker.

UCT students Matthew Koehorst, Rethabile Melamu, Paul Mesarcik and Francois Petsousis were inspired to offer their expertise to SCAGA after listening to a talk by Rob Small, the resource mobilisation officer for Abalimi, described as an urban agriculture and environmental action association.

SCAGA is the first large-scale community garden in Khayelitsha, and is one of many Abalimi projects that seek to empower impoverished communities to make a reliable living from growing and selling fresh produce.

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