Sept. 30 - A Cuban farmer has taken an innovative approach to energy production and distribution by bagging the methane emitted by his pigs to share with neighbours. Tara Cleary reports.
Cuban pig farmer Daniel Garcia is getting more out of his hogs than he ever thought possible. He has installed a biogas system to exploit the fuel potential of his pigs' manure, turning it into methane and carbon dioxide for use in his home. But Garcia's pigs are producing more fuel than he can use so he's sharing it with his neighbours, using recycled, hermetically sealed plastic bags for storage and distribution. The bags are more commonly used to store tomato pulp but here in Cuba, recycling is a way of life. SOUNDBITE: DANIEL GARCIA, PIG FARMER, SAYING (Spanish): "It's always about recycling, not throwing anything away and taking advantage of everything. What you throw away others can live off. So I wanted to close the cycle and about six months ago the biogas was already working." And so is his distribution system. After filling the bags with bio-fuel he simply delivers them to his neighbors. And with erratic electricity supply, for them, Garcia's gas is invaluable. SOUNDBITE: CARMEN GARCIA, RETIRED NEIGHBOR, SAYING (Spanish): "This has helped me a lot, and maybe not just me but the people who live around here. When the power goes out, like the other day, I can help the neighbors heat milk for their girl and fry an egg." Garcia says his system is cheap and time efficient -- he can fill a bag in just 30 minutes, giving a family enough fuel to cook meals for two days. The resourceful farmer hopes his idea will spread to other pig farms, and not just in Cuba. SOUNDBITE: DANIEL GARCIA, PIG FARMER, SAYING (Spanish): "Imagine how many pig pens there are in the world, how many pigs. We have an old saying that quality is in our hands. It's a guarantee for the future. We can either take care of it or destroy it." And having demonstrated that his pigs can be a source of both food and fuel, Daniel Garcia may be at the forefront of new revolution in Cuba.