In May 2007 at a conference in Nairobi, Kenya an initiative was launched to begin an African biogas development program with the goal of installing two million biogas plants throughout Africa by 2020. The initiative was made official only after careful consideration of the technical and cost-benefit potentials for biogas in Africa. Sudies found that the technical potential is especially high in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Lesotho, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso and most East African countries except Somalia and Djibouti. A cost-benefit analysis of an integrated domestic biogas, latrine and hygiene program done by Winrock International shows that there is a potential 7.5% financial rate of return and a potential 178% economic rate of return. The difference between the two is significant because the start-up of an integrated biogas and latrine program requires hefty financial capital investment and expenditure, while the economic benefit to the African society would be great, in terms of “improved health, increased availability of potent organic fertilisers, time savings through the reduced drudgery associated with fuel collection, and environmental benefits.” These benefits would especially impact African women and children, because they “disproportionately endure the drudgery of fuel collection and the negative health effects associated with spending hours breathing highly polluted air just to prepare food for their families.”
At the conference Mr. Cheikh Modibo Diarra of Mali and Ms Hauwa Ibrahim of Nigeria were named the Biogas Ambassadors for Africa. The initiative sees the implementation as a business partnership between governments, private sectors, civil society agents and international development partners. The $2 billion investment required will depend greatly on public funding from donors and the sale of carbon credits.
The specific goals of the Biogas Initiative are these:
* two million biogas plants installed (90% operation rate)
* 10 million Africans benefiting in daily life from the plants
* 800 private biogas companies and 200 biogas appliance manufacturing workshops involved or established
* 100,000 new jobs created
* comprehensive quality standards and quality control systems developed and in use
* one million toilets constructed and attached to the biogas plant
* 80% of the bio-slurry used as organic fertilizer
* agricultural production raised by up to 25%
* health and living conditions of women and children improved, and the deaths of women and children reduced by 5000 each year
* drudgery reduced by saving 2-3 hours per household each day in fetching wood, cooking and cleaning the pots
* health costs saved of up to US$80-125 per family, per year
* 3-4 million tonnes of wood saved per year
* greenhouse gas emissions annually reduced by 10 Mtonnes of CO2 equivalent.
Rwanda has already begun a national biogas program and 11 other countries including Ethiopia, Senegal, Uganda, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Mali and Ghana have taken the first steps to starting their own. The next Biogas Initiative conference will be held in West Africa in 2008.
To read the full article from Renewable Energy Access and get more sources for info on biogas, click the REW link below. Also, check out Africa Biogas’ official website, linked below.
[Renewable Energy World; Biogas Africa]