Sunday, May 15, 2011

Nairobi, Kenya - Experts sound the alarm over poor quality biogas plants

A biogas plant
Business Daily - Kenya: By NGONDI MBURU, Posted  Tuesday, April 5 2011 at 00:00

Experts are warning against inappropriate biogas plant installations being carried out by donor-funded organisations throughout the country, saying some are of low quality and unsuitable for farmers.

“Some of these plants are just enough to cook three meals per day on a single burner. They cannot be used for lighting,” said Mr Stanley Chepkwony, a biogas technical consultant.

The facilities, which cost about Sh100,000 to install, are permanent fixtures which cannot be expanded in future if the farmer sees the need.

Construction costs involve creating a digester, piping system, kitchen work, and other accessories.

“This is something permanent. Once constructed you cannot later demolish it. It can last up to 30 or 50 years,” said Mr Chepkwony.

Development of the Anaernobic Digestion energy is expected to reduce pressure on the country’s depleted forest cover.

He said that farmers who later find out that the biogas plants do not meet their needs are forced to build fresh ones, which is expensive.

“We have received several complaints from the field and we have constructed bigger plants for some of the farmers, which is proving very expensive for them,” said Mr Chepkwony who works with the Private Sector Development in Agriculture.

The small plants, which range between four and 12 cubic metres, are being constructed by government and donor funded organisation.

About 700 such plants have been build throughout the country.

“These people are not informing farmers properly on the size of the biogas plants. They just want the farmers to have the plants installed,” said Mr Richard Karani, a biogas economist and consultant.

Enough energy

The Private Sector Development in Agriculture has constructed 650 plants, which range from 12 to 124 cubic metres, across the country.

The large capacity plants can produce enough energy to run engines, chuff cutters, lighting, and even household items like fridges in addition to cooking.

Before construction, farmers are advised to inquire on the capacity of the plants in relation to the number of animals they have and their future projections.

This ensures that they receive plants that meet their current and future needs.

Read the full article here.

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