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.