We've Got A Hot Shower!

Rio Muchacho has recently completed the 3rd edition of its compost shower!  A cold shower is usually quite refreshing in Ecuador (especially after a sunny day in the garden) but sometimes a little hot water is desired as well.  So how can we get hot water out of compost?

Volunteers Julie, Nick, Henri, and Celine Celebrate the Success of Rio Muchacho's First Composting Shower. 

Volunteers Julie, Nick, Henri, and Celine Celebrate the Success of Rio Muchacho's First Composting Shower. 

Compost is broken down by millions of microorganisms that generate heat as they eat the compost.  To use this energy we coiled about sixty meters of water pipe into three large rings and covered it with a Bokashi pile of compost.  A Bokashi pile uses horse and cow manure mixed with rice husks (or another type of dry carbon material) to create the perfect environment for these microorganisms.  We threw in some molasses to kick-start the process, and a few days later the water we pumped through the pipes came out steaming hot!

Compost piles generally have 25-30 parts carbon (rice husks, leaves, or plants) to one part nitrogen (animal manure) and a Bokashi pile will take about three weeks to decompose.  When the water gets cold, the compost is ready to use in the garden!