An Innisfail-area teen is set to showcase his work alongside 500 of Canada’s top young scientists.
Liam Christian, 13, will take his horse power project to the Canada-Wide Science Fair in New Brunswick next week.
“I noticed that small acreages with horses often end up with more manure to compost than they have land to spread that compost on,” Christian said.
“I wanted to find a way to address the need for proper manure management that could also provide benefits and opportunities for green energy generation and land stewardship for rural residents.”
He entered his project into the 4-H Science Fair, where he was selected as a finalist to advance to the national competition.
Christian designed and built bench scale biodigesters to test if manure from a single horse could produce enough energy to power a small 108-watt electric horse fencer.
The biodigesters function by providing an oxygen-free environment for the decomposition of organic material – methane produced by this decomposition is collected and burned to generate electricity in a process that has the additional benefit of reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.
Christian also tested three different inoculant rates and found he could decrease start-up time and increase methane production by using an inoculant.
The biodigesters require sufficient heat to function properly and the cold winter weather resulted in increased heating costs during the project.
Christian received financial support from EQUS, Innisfail & District Agricultural Society, Central Alberta Co-op and Home Depot.
Patricia Bourne, EQUS CEO, said “it’s very inspiring to see the next generation” seeking out opportunities.
“Rural Albertans are problem-solvers and innovators and we’re really proud to be a part of the renewable and alternative energy projects, big and small, that are creating more sustainable rural communities,” said Bourne.
The Canada-Wide Science Fair is May 12-17.