Sunday, July 7, 2013

Bio-Gas: Reaping the double dividends.

By Aaron kaah

Thousands  of farm families  in Cameroon are learning to make good use of the  earth natural resources to trim utility bills and avoid cutting trees for fuel wood.  Through Bio Gas, a component  of  the Small Grants progamme of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), farm families are  reaping double dividends. An almost free renewable green energy.

This Bio Gas also generates a by- product (slurry) that is a rich crop fertilizer. More importantly these bio Gas units are easy and cheap to install, simple to run and require not maintenance  in the first five years after installation. Over time these plants which are installed through microfinance programs in self help groups pay for themselves.  All this may explain why some  100 thousands households in the NW regions of Cameroon have turned to bio gas.

Produced by action of bacteria on organic material such as manure or food crop waste in airless conditions  the concept is simple.

Through the help of UNDP and another development organization in the region  families in rural areas have leaned how to  build and install the main parts of a basic  under ground bio gas plant; the inlet, digester, gas holder and the out let. The inlet is where families deposit organic waste or manure. The digester   which can be a dome shape structure made of bricks  is attached to an out let. This airtight chamber is where bacteria decomposes the manure until it separate to bio gas and   slurry.

The gas holder receives bio gas before it is release through tubes for cooking and lighting. The slurry goes through the outlet to a compost area where it can be extracted to fertilizer farm fields. Using this bio gas for cooking improves the environment by reducing the emission of green house gases, reduces fire wood consumption, saves trees and restore land productive potentials.

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