Kathy Puffer of Tillson, state of New York, has been recognised at the AD and Biogas Industry Awards for bringing small-scale-biogas solutions to communities and women around the world. At the annual Awards gala in Birmingham, UK, on 29 March, Kathy won the Women in Biogas Award, and her Biogas Education Hub was highly commended with second place in the Educational Campaign of the Year Award.
“Kathy goes the extra mile, proactively spreading the word about biogas, educating all around the world”, commented Chris Huhne, chairman of ADBA. “The judges were hugely impressed by the work Kathy and Solar Cities are doing. The Biogas Education Hub works with communities all over the world to help small scale biogas succeed and enables people to access anaerobic digestion and biogas technology from any background, culture, economy and climate. Kathy is really making a difference and making biogas happen!”
Kathy has been a dedicated biogas user since installing a home scale biodigester in 2014. Her family harvests the vegetables grown with the help of the liquid fertiliser, and they cook most of their stove-top meals with the methane produced. She recently upgraded to a HomeBiogas2 that she winterised and heats with hot air solar.
Kathy believes that when learners feel empowered from their own success, they can inspire their communities to get fired up about biogas and thus do their part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. She aims to build community resilience, while producing their own energy from food and animal residuals.
“When I first started teaching small-scale biogas and building digesters, I was one of only a handful of women doing the work in a field of mostly male engineers,” Kathy says. “I dedicated myself to meet women where they were (whether in the kitchen, garden, workshop, or bathroom) to reclaim their food, waste, and energy as a form of self-care and Earth-care for themselves, their families, and communities.”
In 2021, she established a curriculum for teaching others how to site and size the best biogas solution for their own context via a smartphone app. By taking women’s realities and global inter-sectionalities into account, Kathy has devised a curriculum that a) works better for everyone b) robustly supports people to succeed with small scale biogas, whatever their context c) empowers people to play a role in widespread biogas adoption.
Kathy has led several online programmes with participants from Haiti, Belize, India, Africa, Europe, the U.S., and Puerto Rico, over 65% of them being women. The programme is being expanded to be offered in various languages—this year, Kathy is working with her French/Haitian Creole-speaking colleague and fellow biogas educator Rose Bazile to translate the course materials and teach Kathy’s curriculum.
You can learn more about Kathy’s work and contact her at kathypuffer.com.
Check out the “Succeed with Small-Scale Biogas” course, which opens for enrolment twice each year, at biogaseducation.com. Enrolment for the 4th cohort opens on 19th April.
The AD and Biogas Industry Awards are run by the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) and the World Biogas Association (WBA). ADBA is the trade association for the UK anaerobic digestion and biogas industry, and the WBA is the global trade association for the biogas, landfill gas and anaerobic digestion sector