Energy and Sustainability in Isolated Communities
People living in more rural and isolated areas tend to have much higher rates of poverty and a lack of utilities and infrastructure than those who live in more urban areas or within larger population centers. As a result, it is necessary to focus on the delivery of not only a sufficient amount of resources, but the proper technologies into these areas in order to create a real, long-term change and do what is necessary to fully eradicate the scourge of poverty from this world in which we live. Not only are the power resources necessary to provide these people with an adequate means of protecting themselves and living, to some degree at least, more comfortably but also for the provision of social assistance, work programs, training facilities and even to generate a positive cash flow for the local community. To these ends, the establishment of isolated, sustainable stations capable of providing sufficient levels of energy and other resources to these areas is being implemented across the Philippines and around the globe.
Historically, those people who live in areas that are more rural in nature have less opportunity to advance than those individuals living in large population centers or more urban environments. As industry and infrastructure grow, so does the population it seems. The schools often reflect the poorer standards of living exhibited by a lack of sufficient funding and an inability to hire quality teachers, thus forcing a continuation of the cycle of poverty within these environs. Those who remain behind may do so for a great many reasons from living on familial or tribal lands to being more robust and independent types of people to individuals just wishing to get away from the “hustle and bustle” world in which so many people live and work in on a daily basis. While these people may be isolated by choice or not, there is no real excuse for them remaining in abject poverty no matter where they may choose to live.
While there is no simple, single solution, there are individual portions of systemic, long-term solutions that need to be examined closely and set open for discussion. This documentation seeks to present one possible solution to a few of the more prevalent issues. These individual facilities can be fully scaled up or down to meet the individual needs of the community or communities in question. In this way, custom solutions can be tailored to the individual needs to maximize the results and the benefit to the people most in need of the assistance in the first place.
Power is provided through the use of naturally produced methane or natural gas from organic materials and livestock raised within the facility itself. This natural gas is then not only prevented from being released, unchecked into the atmosphere as is currently common practice, but can be utilized to provide fuel directly to cooking stoves, refrigeration units, vehicles that have been converted to run on propane and/or natural gas and even for Hydrogen Fuel Cells to generate electrical current for the local community.
Ostensibly, the Hydrogen Fuel Cells do not technically need a battery backup system but these facilities will be housed with Cube-Style, fully organic batteries that are being produced in Germany. Both the batteries and the Fuel Cells can be located within the facility itself and smaller fuel cells (generally five kilowatts) can be situated directly in the homes in locations where more power may be desired or is needed. In this way, not only will more professional and modern utilities be available within the centers but also be available to be placed within the individual homes inside of the communities in cases where there is a sufficient level of funding to do so. (Initially, funding will be based on an average community with one-thousand homes. Some communities will be larger and some smaller so it is hoped that a balance will be struck) Once the issues and concerns of power and modern appliances has been addressed, the need remains to provide food and other social assistance to the people of the community where it is needed.
Even the smallest of these facilities, those based on the principles of a single home, will have a minimum of eight swine breeders, two fish ponds replete with vertical farming extensions and a number of chickens and assorted gardening areas based on the location. The piggeries will be built in such a fashion as to allow the solid waste to be merely shovelled back and directed into the digesters for the entrapment of the methane gases naturally produced. Most of the organic matter (plant-life) and other fecal matter will be carted in to a conveniently located chute system that dumps it into the basement for inclusion in the materials already being added to the digesters. The methane will be harvested to power the utilities as described above but will leave a residual sludge or effluent that also has numerous benefits for the local population.
The Effluent or residual sludge from the Digesters that produce the methane has unique properties that make it ideal for the creation of wholly organic fertilizers and emulsifiers. These naturally created fertilizers and emulsifiers can then be used for the plant and garden areas of the facility itself. Any and all excess production can be sold on the open markets to help the facility to pay its own way within the community and also to help support the local government agency or even to offset limited costs that would otherwise have to be collected directly from the individuals within those communities. In addition to the sale and/or utilization of the fertilizer itself, there remains a very viable market and the provision of social assistance for the community members directly through the results of harvesting of the livestock and gardens within these facilities.
In the smallest of facilities, food production will far outweigh consumption for most any single family. Again, the numbers here are being based on the smallest facilities with a mere eight swine breeders and the inclusion of two five meter squared fish ponds with the vertical garden extensions and a variable number of chickens based on a starting point of two hundred and fifty broilers. Despite that, the amount of food produced is seen to be extensive and certain to create a surplus for all but the largest of families with the most vociferous of appetites.
Pork production with eight swine breeders and one new batch of piglets each and every month should produce over twelve thousand kilos of pork per year and still allow for the sale of a great many piglets to provide a continual cash flow as well. Roughly thirteen hundred kilos of Tilapia will be produced each and every year with the two five-by-five meter fish tanks. The vertical gardening extensions on the top of the fish tanks will provide an estimated six and one-half thousand kilos of vegetables depending on the fruits and vegetables selected for the selected areas. Chicken will be a variable in the equation but there will be a start with a minimum of two hundred and fifty broilers. These broilers will be ready for harvest within forty-five days but a number (dependent upon the needs and requirements as established per facility) will be allowed to live for the production of eggs for consumption and for the purposes of breeding future generations of broilers for a more sustainable effort overall while at the same time providing both food and jobs for the local people.
The number of jobs that will be created on each of these facilities will vary based on the size and scope of the facility in question. It is possible to run the smaller facilities with as few as three individuals but there may be good and just cause to hire more people as well. Additionally, training opportunities should be available to all of the local people for the purposes of passing on the ability of the people to handle more sustainable methods of farming and other considerations. Surplus quantities of food can also be sold to pay for the facility and any of the maintenance costs. Additional cash flow generated from the facility can also be used to supplement the local economic system and even the governments’ budgets.