Gekko Systems’ Biodigester Converts Cow Poo Into Energy and Fertilisers

A mining company in western Victoria is turning poo into gold by transforming the waste into smell-free fertilisers and energy.
Gekko Systems, which has designed and established a biodigester on a dairy farm at Bungaree, is hoping that renewable energy could be utilised across and beyond farming.
In a report published on the website of ABC News Australia, Sandy Gray, Gekko Systems’ Technical Director, said that minerals processing specialists were “becoming true alchemists.” “The crap coming out of the shed – we used to look at it as something that was detrimental. But now we believe we are going to turn it into gold and the more crap we can produce, the more gold we can produce from it,” he added.
The biodigester is still in its initial stage but is expected to contribute to at least half the power of the robotic dairy owned by farmer Mark Trigg. The report mentioned that Trigg’s cows produce 24,000 litres of effluent daily, which is then collected into an 80,000-litre pit which makes it viable to be transferred to the digester. The said technology can also remove the smell of the effluent, making it a smell-free fertiliser.
The biodigester is a joint project of the mining company and a piggery where a biodigester has been operating for 27 years now. Melville Charles, a pig farmer, worked together with an Italian engineer to design the biodigester, but it was his son Jock Charles who eventually found Gekko and considered to level-up the biodigester.
He said, “I have always been asked a fair bit to assist people in building biogas plants, but if I was ever going to team up, it was to be with a good engineering company with a strong reputation. And to be here in Ballarat with Gekko is an added bonus.”
Gray thinks that diversifying into farming was a natural progression saying, “I really love the whole farming thing, I ended up in mining by mistake. We deliberately went into another area, another industry. Because mining goes up and down, it cycles quite heavily.”
Jock Charles explained how the biodigester works, “Basically the primary digester is an extension of the pig’s stomach. It is heated up to 37 degrees and rather than feed being in a pig’s stomach for a couple of hours, it gets 25 days to break down, so it is thoroughly decomposed by that stage.”
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