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International Trade

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Construction of fixed dome biogas plants is a specialised task that can be performed by artisans who have been trained as Biogas Technicians. A radius stick ensures uniform radius of block work around the central point, pivot, and support brick before they bind during construction, especially when the plant construction starts.

The general methodology includes the following steps, in stages:
• Clear site and demarcate the positions of major elements of the plant.
• Prepare the site for construction.
• Excavate the digester pit, the inlet and the outlet chambers.
• Provide construction materials and organise qualified labourers.
• Organise the construction site.
Construction of the 1st phase of digesters:
• Fixing of the Reference Line
• Casting and reinforcement of digester foundation,
• Construct digester walls up to outlet pipe level
• Plastering of outlet wall
• Back-filling and ramming
• Casting of foundations for outlet chambers
• Construction of outlet trench from digester to outlet chamber
Construction of the 2nd phase of digesters
• Cross-checking of the Reference Line
• Digester construction up to inlet chamber level
• Fixing of inlet pipe from digester to inlet chamber
• Plastering of outside and inside walls
• Back-filling and ramming
• Casting of foundations for inlet chamber
• Construction of inlet trench from digester to inlet chamber
Construction of the 3rd phase
• Cross-checking of the Reference Line
• Construction of digester up to neck level
• Plastering of outside and inside walls
• Construction of outlet chamber
• Construction of inlet chamber
• Back-filling and ramming
• Construction of digester neck
• Final site levelling
• Assembling of gas piping and accessories
• Construction of structure for central gasholder.
• Installation of central gasholder.
• Installation of gas piping from digester to central gasholder.
• Installation of gas meter
• Installation of gas utilization equipment (gas stove and burner)
• Prepare short report on construction phase 3 and assembling (including a photo documentation)
• Carry out a test-run of the plant.


Fig. 1: Position of digester to stable floor. The ideal situation is a sloping ground, falling from the stable via the digester to the crop plantation (1). On horizontal ground (2), it might be necessary to lift the floor of the stable (H).


The standard fixed dome plant has a half-bowl spherical shape with flat bottom and a top opening. The outer walls rest on a foundation ring beam. The floor has no static function. The upper part of the sphere is separated from the lower part by a joint, called the "weak ring". Gas tightness of the upper part is achieved by a crack-free structure and a gas-tight inner surface plaster. The Inlet pipe is connected to the spot of dung disposal in the stable. The outlet pipe connects the digester with an expansion chamber of reduced spherical shape. The overflow of the expansion chamber - really the final outlet of the digester - leads to the slurry disposal system, i.e. the distribution channel, storage tank or compost pit.

Principle of Statics of Fixed Dome Plants

The plant consists of a non-load bearing bottom (A), the lower slurry-tight digester (B), the upper gas-tight gas storage part (C), the neck (D) and the gas-tight lid (E). Gas storage part and digester are separated by the weak-ring ( 10) in order to allow free reaction of the strong-ring (3) and to prevent cracks which have developed in the lower part of the digester to "grow" into the gas storage space. The plant rests on a foundation ring (1) bearing mainly the vertical loads of' the construction and the soil cover (7). The surrounding soil supports the construction to resist gas pressure (5) and slurry pressure (6). Concrete at the outside of the lower layer of bricks (2) helps to reduce tangential forces at the foot point (9). The ring forces of the upper part are absorbed by the strong-ring (3).

Fig. 2: Statics of the Fixed Dome Plant


Because the slurry is a liquid, the biogas plant follows the physical law of communicating tubes. A reference line is used in construction to keep the exact levels, which are of outmost importance for the functioning of the system. Main vertical measurements of the working drawings are given in relation to the reference line. The reference line is 35 cm above the overflow of the expansion chamber and marks the lowest possible point of the stable floor from where the dung is pushed into the mixing chamber. It is also the minimum level for soil covering of the dome.

At the site, the reference line is marked by a string passing over the centre of the digester, preferably in direction from inlet to outlet. The string is fixed in absolute horizontal position with a spirit or hose-pipe level. The pegs for the reference line should be sturdy and well protected during construction time. In order not to lose the level of the reference line it is advisable to also mark it on a tree or a building near to the plant.

In case there is an existing stable, a horizontal string is fixed from the lowest point of the floor to the place of the proposed overflow of the expansion chamber. The overflow might be 35 cm or more below this string. The convenient overflow level might be decided and the string of the reference line is tied 35 cm above that point. In all cases, it will be at, or below, the lowest floor level of the stable. In case of a 16 m³ standard plant, the centre of the digester is 3,30 m away from the inlet point. The point of overflow is 5,00 m away from the centre.

In case a new stable will be constructed, the point of overflow of the expansion chamber might be decided according to the convenience of slurry disposal. A horizontal string 35 cm above this point forms the reference line. The lowest point of the stable floor might be on the same level or preferably above the reference line; but never below this level. In case of a 16 m³ standard plant, the centre of the digester is 5,00 m away from the point of overflow. The inlet chamber attached to the stable is 3,30 m away from the centre.


For safety of the laborers, the sides of the pit must be sloped according to the soil properties. Excavated soil should be placed 1 m away from the rim of the pit. Place of inlet and expansion chamber should be kept free from excavated soil. The pits of the digester and the expansion chamber are excavated in their proper sizes and positions down to their respective final depths. If soil is soft or of unequal strength, stone or sand packing below the foundation is required. Provide drainage facilities in case of ground or hill water.

Fig. 3: The reference line

The reference line (RL) is marked by a string during construction to maintain proper levels of essential parts of the gas plant. The lowest point of the stable floor (SF), i.e. the lowest point of the urine drain, must be 35 cm above the overflow point (OP) in order to allow sufficient depth (min. 15 cm) of the inlet chamber. On uneven ground it may be required to fix the string l m above the real reference line. Then, 1 m must be added to all measurements. The reference line may be lower than the stable floor (1).
It should never be higher as to avoid lifting up the feed material for filling the plant. The reference line also marks the necessary soil cover above the dome (4).

The foundation ring is excavated immediately before filling the concrete of the foundation. A mixture of 1: 2: 4 (cement: sand: aggregate) is used and the concrete is firmly rammed. Casting of the foundation should be done early in the day as to allow sufficient time to place the first two layers of brickwork into the fresh concrete at the same day. These two layers are back-filled with a lean concrete mixture of 1: 3: 9.


In the construction of underground digesters, the fixed dome is preferred when considering statics and stability. Further, during excavation, the structure of the soil at the bottom further determines how the lowest part of the digester must be shaped.
A flat bottom (A) is the weakest in view of statics A conical shape (B) is much stronger and strongest solution is a bowl-shaped bottom (C).

Fig. 4: Different Shapes of Bottom of Digester for Stability

For project sites along the coast, where sandy soils are predominant, the bowl-shaped bottom is adopted for maximum stability. A design radius of 2.4 m (240 cm) will give a dome-shaped digester a volume of 40 m3.
It is further proposed that in situations where during excavation works for the digesters it has been established that the underground water table is high, rubble drains should be incorporated to protect the underground structures.

Fig. 5: Spherical Bottom Design and Brickwork of Fixed Dome Digesters.


(1) Foundation ring of concrete 1: 2: 4; (2) First two layers of' bricks laid in cement-lime mortar 1: 1/4 : 4; (3) Supporting concrete ring 1: 3: 9; (4) Brickwork up to the bottom of the weak ring laid in mortar 1: 1/4 : 4; (5) 2 cm thick outside cement-lime plaster 1: 1/4 : 4; (6) Backfilling soil rammed in layers of max. 30 cm height.

For measuring the correct mixtures a gauge box is used (7). The brickwork is erected with the help of a radius stick (8). The radius stick is set at the centre of each brick. The surface of the brick follows the direction of' the radius stick (9). It rests with a groove at the nail of the centre point (10). Because the floor has not yet been laid, the peg of the centre point is 3 cm above the excavated ground. The upper nail (11) of the radius stick (11) marks the inner edge of the brick. The measure of the stick is reduced by 4 cm for placing the headers of the strong ring (12). When laying the bricks, they are first knocked horizontally, then vertically.

Fig. 6: Construction of the lower part of the sphere


The centre point at the bottom of the digester is the heart of the construction. The centre peg should be firmly driven in at proper position and level according to the reference line. A nail on the head of the peg marks the exact centre.

To construct the spherical masonry wall, a guide stick is used which keeps the radius constant and helps to create an absolute half bowl shape. Each brick of the wall is laid against the nail of the radius stick. It is easier to do than to describe. Just start putting brick by brick, keeping the top of the brick in the same slope as the direction of the radius stick, which is radial, pointing to the centre. Automatically, brickwork will turn out in spherical shape.

Bricks must be of good quality, preferably of 7•12•23 cm in size. If bricks are less than 5 cm in thickness they should be used in flat layers. The wall becomes then 10-12 cm thick and more bricks will be required. The bricks are soaked in water before laid into 1 cm mortar bed of mixture 1: 1/4 : 4 (cement: lime: sand). Gauge boxes are used to measure the volumes for mixing the mortar. Only sieved and washed river sand is permitted; otherwise the amount of cement must be increased if only quarry sand is available. Vertical Joints should be "squeezed" and must, of course, be offset. The inner edge of the brick forms always a right angle with the radius stick.


Inlet and outlet pipe must be placed in connection with brick-laying. It is not possible to break holes later into the spherical shell; this would spoil the whole structure. The pipe rests below on a brick projecting 2 cm to the inside. Above, it is kept in position by being tied to pegs at the rim of the excavation.

The inlet pipe is of 10 cm (4") diameter. Its upper side is in line with the top of the weak ring. The outlet pipe which connects the digester with the expansion chamber is of 15 cm (6") diameter in order to avoid clogging. It starts at the bottom at the 4th layer of bricks and continues above the dome of the expansion chamber to allow poking in case of blocking. A collar of cement mortar 1: 1/4: 4 at the outside of the wall seals the Joint between the outlet pipe and the brickwork. At the level of the expansion chamber it is cut out to allow for slurry flowing in and out.


Only sieved and washed river sand is to be used for plaster. After brickwork has reached the level of the weak ring, smooth plaster of 2 cm thickness and of 1: 1/4 : 4 mixture is applied all over the outside. The plaster should harden over night before back-filling of soil is done. The outer plaster protects the brickwork against roots growing into the joints. It forms also a smooth surface which reduces friction between soil and structure and thus, reduces static stress of the brickwork.

Fig. 7: Inlet and Outlet Pipe

The outlet pipe (Ø 6" ) rests on a flat brick (1) above the 4th layer of the spherical wall. At the outside of the wall it is surrounded by a mortar collar (2). The inlet pipe (0 4") penetrates the weak-ring (3). The pipe is not allowed to be higher than the top of the weak-ring, because it would then disturb the strong-ring. From the outside it is sealed only by the plaster of the lower brick work. At the top, the pipes are kept in position by pegs (4).

The ideal situation is to place digester and baffle chamber at positions with gradient to allow flow with gravity (without pumping). Effluent utilisation also follows the same principle for discharge with gravity, either into the natural water way or to grow woodlots for firewood. The non-use of gadgets and movable parts like pumps and stirrers in anaerobic waste water treatment renders such systems the advantage of being simple and unsophisticated to handle. Thus gravitational flow is essential in the conservation of energy. Conventional aerobic treatment systems require energy for pumps and mechanical agitators, while anaerobic systems release energy in the form of Methane gas.


Fig. 9: Slurry condition inside the CAMARTEC digester (1) Settlement of sand and soil. (2) Viscous slurry or sludge, having a TS-content of 6-7%. (3) Liquid slurry fraction, having a TS-content of 12%. (4) Floating scum, having a TS-content between 15 and
50 %. (5) Biogas.

Fig. 10: System of the fixed dome plant
The digester (1) is filled via the inlet pipe (2) up to the bottom level of the expansion chamber (3).The level of original filling is called the zero line. The gasplant is closed by a gas-tight lid (4). Under the airless (anaerobic) condition, biogas is produced. When the gas valve (5) is closed, biogas collects in the upper part of the digester, called the gas storage part (6). The accumulating gas displaces part of the slurry into the expansion chamber. When the expansion chamber is full, slurry overflows into the slurry drain for use as manure. When the main valve (9) is opened, the gas escapes off the gas storage part until the slurry levels inside the digester and inside the expansion chamber balances. The gas pressure "p" depends on the prevailing difference of the slurry levels
(10). The substrate is filled daily so that slurry flows out daily at the time when large amount of gas is stored. Regular gas consumption requires smaller gas storage space. Consequently, the zero-line will rise. While daily feeding of the plant continues, gas is released before the slurry reaches the overflow level. The slurry level rises also when there is gas leakage. The level in the expansion chamber at zero gas pressure indicates the level of the zero line. The volume of slurry above the zero line inside the expansion chamber is equal to the gas storage space.

Round-shaped underground structures have better resilience against lateral pressures, hence the preference for dome-shaped digesters. For best stability of domes, the following mix proportion table is recommended in the GTZ Biogas Handbook by Sasse et al.

Lime is added to both brickwork and plastering mortar to allow better bondage and resilience against lateral forces. Addition of waterproof cement to foundation slab and digester wall plastering renders the bio-digesters impermeable, thus preventing seepage into underground water sources. Sieved coarse sand is used for the manufacture of sandcrete blocks in brick sizes on site.

Foundation concrete 1 2 4
Lean concrete (for backfilling) 1 3 9
Curved/spherical slab 1 3 6
Brickwork mortar 1 ¼ 4
Plastering mortar inside/outside 1 ¼ 4






1. Improved Biogas Unit for Developing Countries. SASSE L, et. al; GTZ, 1991
2. Field pictures: Biogas Engineering Ltd, 1994 to 2007
The Biogas Extension Service (BES) of CAMARTEC (Centre for Agricultural Mechanization and Rural Technology) in Arusha/ Tanzania was carried out in cooperation with Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Technische Zusammenarbeit
(GTZ), Eschborn, Germany.

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...Module Code: EO314 Module Title: ISSUES IN INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS Module Convenor: Stephen Smith ID: 03004367 Topic: INTERNATIONAL TRADE This project will attempt to research and gain an understating of whether there is linkage between trade liberalisation and poverty in (SSA) sub Saharan Africa. The project will contain a balance of key analytical approaches and empirical evidence on trade liberalisation and economic growth. In the world of economics and politics, trade and poverty is one of the major issues which has been debated over last decade. On the international stage, there is a growing concern among super powers, African leaders, and other observers that the independence and credibility of the state continues to be endangered due to the negative balance of trade, heavy dependence on international aid and the high levels of indebtedness in Sub Saharan Africa. The debt relief has come to be viewed not only as a basic condition for arresting Africa’s socio-economic decline but also for stimulating and sustaining development. Consequently, debt has had an adverse impact on the majority of the population, poverty, unemployment and socio-economic, inequalities has increased, physical infrastructures has deteriorated, political and civil conflicts have worsened and corruption has become more persistent. The concern with how to tackle the debt crisis has led to a number of developments, however the main one is for the G-8 countries to have......

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Premium Essay

International Trade

...International trade theories and the Indian software industry Different theories developed throughout time exist regarding international trade. In this first section the most important theories will be discussed and compared, leading to an explanation of the location-specific advantages of the Indian software industry. The most well-known international trade theories are mercantilism, the theory of absolute advantage, the theory of comparative advantage, and the factor endowment theory (Heckscher-Ohlin theory). Mercantilism is based on the beliefs that a nation’s wealth depends on accumulated treasure, and that government policies should encourage exports and discourage imports so as to increase wealth (Ball et al.) Over time is has become clear that this theory contains many flaws and is not widely applicable. Whereas mercantilism is a theory which assumes that government control determines all aspects of international trade, other theories rather assume that market forces are the determinants of the direction, volume and composition of international trade (Ball et al.) When a country, firm or individual has an absolute advantage it implies that, the firm, country or individual can fabricate more goods, or the same amount of goods more efficiently than its competitors for an equivalent amount of inputs. Occasionally it occurs that a country, firm or individual solely has absolute disadvantages. In such cases the good produced at the lowest opportunity cost......

Words: 1116 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

International Trade

...* What are the effects of international trade to GDP, domestic markets and university students? Throughout history trade amongst international countries has existed. Countries may import and export their goods, and the prices of importing or exporting will be determined by how high or how low the exchange rate will be. The Gross Domestic Product, also referred to as GDP, is the total amount of goods and prices a country produces in one year. The International trade will have effects on GDP by expanding our markets with the importing of goods and services that are not available in this country. Products such as coffee, oil, bananas, and cars from other countries like Japan and Germany. The import of goods may increase our economy GDP and may also allow U.S. to export their own product helping other countries to have the economic expansion as our country. However, International trade provides economic expansion and diversity of goods and services that will result in more competitive prices that will increase market competition among producers, which provide domestic consumers with cheaper products. * How do government choices in regards to tariffs and quotas affect international relations and trade? Although trading and importing products is a great thing for expanding economies, it also has disadvantages. Governments impose certain restrictions and limitations for trading to protect domestic production. Governments apply taxes on......

Words: 338 - Pages: 2