MT. EVEREST BIOGAS PROJECT
Base Camp of Mt. Everest, Nepal
Mt. Everest Foundation
Engineers Without Borders
Project Start Date
Joe Swain - Project Lead
Robert Lawson - Structural Engineer
# of AWB Volunteers
ABOUT THIS PROJECT
AWB is continuing to collaborate with partners at Engineers Without Borders (EWB) and the Mt. Everest Foundation for Sustainable Development on the Mt. Everest Biogas Digester project in Gorak Shep, Nepal. Gorak Shep is located just below Everest Base Camp at the base of the Khumbu Glacier.
Every year, over 13 tons of human solid waste is carried by porters in blue barrels from the base camps on Everest, Pumori, Nuptse, and Lhotse. This waste is being dumped in open, unlined pits at Gorak Shep.
To alleviate this source of environmental degradation and health risk, AWBS is helping to design an anaerobic digester will treat the pathogens in the human waste and create biogas for the Sherpa community and porters at Gorak Shep.
The digester design will treat a capacity of 6000L of waste in a small building of roughly 34 square meters. This building will likely be constructed of local masonry with a wood frame structure for shear and roof support. The architectural challenge is to keep the digester at room temperature, and not let the temp inside the digester drop below 50 degrees (10C). The building is therefore being designed to maximize passive solar heating when possible and will supplement the digester with PV-electrical heating as necessary.
The AWBS team worked Integrated Design Lab to develop insulation fabricated from recycled waste materials brought down from the base camps. The project entered design development and spun off into a standalone 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Mt Everest Biogas Project, with fundraising in place to support construction.
This is an active project and AWBS sent the Project Lead to Nepal in 2016. Check out photos from the site visit.