Monthly Archives: August 2010

Biogas Through Food Waste Management

Renewable Energy:

From Food Scraps to Natural Cooking Gas – Biogas

Everyone, meet the Food Waste Digester. Installing this anaerobic digester is another initiative by this green school to recycle any food scraps and organic waste generated at Panyaden.

The environmental engineers at Utility Business Alliances (UBA) estimate that on average, 450 children and teachers (1 meal a day) will produce about 70 to 80kg of organic waste.

Instead of throwing that away and leaving it to be trucked to a landfill where it will decompose and rot with other materials to release greenhouse gases like methane into the environment, Panyaden School uses the food digester to turn the waste into biogas.

 

What is a Food Waste Digester?

The Food Waste Digester (FWD) is a tank in which bacteria digest and break down organic matter without using oxygen. Watch the YouTube video at the start of this post (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=but5ntRMQQc&feature=player_embedded). It demonstrates a simplified version of how an anaerobic digester like the FWD generally works to produce biogas, a clean natural gas that represents renewable energy.

Food waste that can easily go into the FWD are

  • Cooked and raw meat/fish
  • Cooked and wasted vegetables
  • Fruit waste
  • Cooked pasta/rice
  • Pig/cow manure
  • Other organic wastes

Benefits

For minimal labour input, biogas can replace firewood and fossil fuels that are becoming more expensive as supply lags behind demand (source: University of Adelaide, https://www.adelaide.edu.au/biogas). At Panyaden School, the biogas will be sent from the tank to the gas stove for cooking. Here’s some math that might help put things into perspective (approximations only):

80kg of food waste per day = approx. 2.5 m3 of biogas = 90min of cooking time

Another benefit of using the FWD is that the residual digested food waste (‘digestate’) that is routed to the sludge drying beds, can be recycled as organic fertilizer for planting.

There is no need to worry that using a food digester will attract vermin. It will not because the food waste is broken down under the ground. The FWD is also designed with fibre-reinforced plastic that keeps in odors that attract vermin.

The children at the School will also be able to learn from an early age, the science and application of fermentation, digestion, natural gases, renewable energy and of course, sensible waste management.

Note: Methane is not toxic when inhaled, but it can produce suffocation by reducing the concentration of oxygen inhaled (K. Alisa from UBA). When structures are built on or near landfills, methane can penetrate the buildings’ interiors and expose occupants to significant levels of methane, posing a high risk of causing asphyxiation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane).

Waste Water Management for a Green School

“Water, water, everywhere,

Nor any drop to drink.”

– The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Although Coleridge was writing about being surrounded by seawater that is unfit for consumption,
we may face the same ‘undrinkable’ scenario if we do not save our water resources or protect them
from contamination.

We apparently consume and generate an average of 10 billion pounds of solid and liquid waste each day. If we do not dispose of this waste responsibly, we could create environmental pollution that is hazardous to both humans and nature.

Waste water treatment
I wish there is a better way of naming this process but it is what it is – an efficient way of removing contaminants from liquid waste and safely discharging or reusing the resulting effluent and sludge.

Besides using natural materials for its construction, Panyaden School treats waste water as part of its ‘green mindfulness’  to save water to reduce its ecological footprint. The students gain firsthand knowledge of water conservation and responsible wastewater management.

How waste water is treated at Panyaden School
Have a look at the diagram of the waste water treatment (I’d refer to it as WWT) plant that the school’s construction company, Chiangmai Life Construction has discreetly built at the back of its premises with the help of environmental consultants from Utility Business Alliance (UBA*).

The UBA team from Bangkok has designed the main WWT capsule to be placed safely underground where it will not be an eye sore.

There are 2 basic stages to a standard WWT plant:

Primary Stage: From the Equalization or EQ Tank where it is contained, the wastewater first passes through a physical stage where large, solid garbage is filtered out and separated from the lighter waste such as grease and oils. These will settle to the bottom while the grease and oils rise to the surface.

Secondary Stage: This is the biological stage that can be either anaerobic or aerobic. The UBA team chose the latter type since the organic compound content in the School’s wastewater will not be high. It is also easy to control and operate.

Aerobic treatment: The wastewater is filled with oxygen and ‘good’ micro-organisms, which will decompose the organic waste. Once the water has been treated, it will be separated from the micro-organism afters it goes into the sedimentation tank. The solid waste will be released as bacteria-rich sludge.


After stage 2, the wastewater may still contain some organic compounds, phosphates, nitrates and pathogens. These can be further removed in the third level through a series of chemical and physical processes. However the effluent discharged from Stage 2 (with the proper design and operation) normally passes the effluent standard, hence eliminating the need for further treatment.

How the treated water is used at Panyaden School
The School’s WWT plant treats the water up to the secondary stage. The treated water is safe and clean enough to be discharged into the natural waterways. The bacteria-rich sludge is used as organic fertilizer.

Clean water everywhere
We can all do our part to conserve water and ease the pressure on waste treatment plants in our town, city or state. Pause and think a little before you turn on the tap. Let’s do what we can to ensure we will have enough clean water everywhere in the future, “flowing, ever flowing” (Andrew B. Paterson, poet).

*Utility Business Alliances Co., Ltd. (UBA), https://www.uba.co.th

Established in 2000 by a group of science professionals, the company specializes in water pollution management. It is accepted as one of the leaders in waste and water management treatment in Thailand.

UBA is certified with international qualification standards of ISO9001 and ISO14001 (Environment Management System).

The UBA team for Panyaden School is made up of K. Bordin Udon, K. Piti Julkhananukit, K. Somchat Sanghitkul and K. Alisa Wichichiencharoen. They are working on 3 projects for the School:

  • Designing and building the WWT plant
  • Designing the Food Waste Digester (look out for our next post on this)
  • Measuring the School’s carbon footprint and recommending ways of
    keeping it low

 

 

Panyaden School’s Official Launch

By K. Yodphet Sudsawad (Founder of Panyaden School)

Panyaden School team, international English school in Chiang Mai

The official launch of Panyaden School took place at the Kid’s Learning Expo 2010 at Queen Sirikit National Convention Center in Bangkok from 23 to 25 July 2010. The objective of the exhibition was to introduce our school to the Thai academic world and to spread the news that this unique school project is happening in Chiang Mai. The booth’s decoration was a major eye catch in this event. We imitated the rammed earth walls and the bamboo roofs used at our school by bamboo and earth specialist, Chiangmai Life Construction.

Inside Both with Bamboo

Many children enjoyed participating in the activities conducted by the Panyaden team i.e. weaving palm leaves in animal shapes (‘pla tapian bai lan’), drawing and painting organic forms. The teachers and other staff of Panyaden also enjoyed their time with the children. Just the smiles shining from our little friends who visited the booth made this a cheerful and successful event for all of us. Quite a number of parents were interested in our school concept and the curriculum design. Many plan to come to our Open House in Chiang Mai on 28 November 2010 from 10am to 3pm. Over 100 parents gave us their contact details to keep them updated on the project and are considering sending their children to attend either the summer course or the 2011 academic year, or both, at Panyaden School. We hope to see you all at our road show in Chiang Mai as well as our Open House Day.

Check out the Panyaden School Promo Video on youtube!

“Rather than an education system which is geared to testing and to competition and to preparing people for a particular livelihood, the emphasis of Buddhist education is on teaching children how to learn, how to enjoy learning, to love wisdom for its own sake. It teaches them the emotional maturity enabling them to make use of their knowledge to create a happy life for themselves and their family and to contribute positively to the society in which they live. It in no way compromises on the work of preparing children to make a good livelihood, but it lets them see that life is deeper and richer than working in order to consume.” – On Buddhist Wisdom In Education by Ajahn Jayasaro

This delightful video is out on youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvzWJJ8NeXE) and on our Facebook page. Produced by Phenomena Bangkok.

Panyaden Teachers’ Training


Panyaden School started recruiting and training teachers at its Bangkok office in April 2010.

Criteria for the selection of teachers:

  1. Their attitude towards teaching and towards their own goals
  2. They must love being a teacher and have their ideas how to be a good educator
  3. They need to know themselves and what they are good at so that they can skillfully pass on that knowledge to their students
  4. Their general capacity to reflect on themselves and the world

Recruitment and Training:

Principal of Panyaden Buddhist School
Kru Maggie

Kru Maggie (Trainer) shortlisted possible candidates after she has pored through the resumes/applications received by the Bangkok office. She interviewed each of them before she made a ‘final’ selection of candidates who qualify for a 3-day trial period with her.

Upon passing the trial, the candidates undergo a 3-month training program.

During this time, the potential teachers learn how to meditate and how to use non-verbal communication tools such as music and pictures as new effective means of teaching.

They also learn to understand and deal positively with each student’s unique character in order to bring out the best from him or her.

Next, the potentials are placed in different schools in Bangkok that are similar in their educational approach to Panyaden’s, to gain practical teaching experience.

There are currently 30 candidates undergoing the practical teacher training. They will be further evaluated to see if they will eventually qualify to teach at Panyaden School in March next year (the school’s summer course starts 28 Mar to 6 May; First Term from 16 May – 30 Sept 2011).

The school is still looking for more candidates, both Thai and foreign (native English speaking). If you are interested in being part of Panyaden School, please click https://www.panyaden.ac.th/contact-us

Kru Maggie and Trainee Teachers posing in front of bamboo sala