Jean Pain(1930–1981) was a French innovator who developed a compost based bioenergy system that produced 100% of his energy needs. He heated water to 60 degrees celsius at a rate of 4 litres a minute which he used for washing and heating. He also distilled enough methane to run an electricity generator, cooking elements, and power his truck. This method of creating usable energy from composting materials has come to be known as Jean Pain Composting, or the Jean Pain Method.
Pain's compost power plant supplied 100 percent of Pain and his wife Ida's rural household's energy needs. A compost mound of tiny brushwood pieces (3 metres high and 6 across) was made of tree limbs and pulverized underbrush.
The 50 tonnes of compost was then mounded over a steel tank with a capacity of 4 cubic metres. This tank was 3/4 full of the same compost, which had first been steeped in water for 2 months. The hermetically sealed tank was connected by tubing to 24 truck tyre inner tubes, banked near by for the methane gas to collect. The gas was distilled by being washed through small stones in water and compressed. Pain used the gas for cooking and producing electricity. He also fueled a truck. Pain estimated that 10 kilos of brushwood would supply the gas equivalent of a litre of petrol.
It took about 90 days to produce 500 cubic metres of gas - enough to keep two ovens and three burner stoves going for a year. The methane-fueled combustion engine drove a generator that produced 100 watt-hours of electricity every hour.
Hot water was generated through 200 metres of pipe buried inside the compost mound. The pipe was wrapped around the methane generator with an inlet for cold water and an outlet for hot. The heat from the decomposing mass produced 4 litres per minute of hot water heated to 60 degrees Celsius - enough to satisfy the central heating, bathroom and kitchen requirements.
The compost heap continued fermenting for nearly 18 months, after which time the installation is dismantled, with the humus being used to mulch soils, and a new compost system is set up at once to assure a continuous supply of hot water.
Here is a video about the awsome setup that he made: