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Sweden, SNV target 300 artisans in biogas digester making pact
November 9, 2017

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Bio gas machinery
Bio gas farm
Bio gas plant
Energy for home and industrial usage is insufficient in Zambia in particular. Many homes and industries are ushered into electricity blackouts many times. The concept of waste-to-energy brings hope to the problem. When waste is integrated and recycled in district heating, electricity, biogas, biofertilizer or composite manual; it becomes a valuable resource again. Waste-to-energy is a method ideally suited to waste that cannot be recycled in any other way. It is an efficient and environmentally safe method for recovering energy from waste, and provides both district heating and electricity in Sweden.
To broaden waste-to-energy application; the Swedish Embassy in Zambia signed an agreement with SNV (Dutch NGO) to promote the use of biogas for agricultural production in dairy and livestock farming, and for household cooking in areas not served by the national electricity grid. The programme entails capacitating companies dealing in biogas in terms of building quality biogas digesters. It covers three thematic areas: health, governance and economic development, within which energy falls.
SNV estimates the project will train about 300 artisans in construction of biogas digesters. The programme will establish a Biogas Support Unit whose role is to guide and support the development of the biogas sector ensuring optimum conditions, and an enabling environment for the development of a healthy and sustainable biogas market. The programme supports generation of renewable energy from a number of sources, including solar, mini-hydro and gas; with an objective to contribute to the transition to a sustainable, green and more diverse energy mix in the country that also benefits the poorest.
The biogas project with SNV will be implemented over a three-year period, and supports the construction of 3,375 bio digesters in Southern, Lusaka, Western, Central, Northern, Eastern and Copperbelt provinces. The choice of the target areas was based on the feasibility study that SNV conducted in 2012 on the potential of biogas in Zambia. Expected beneficiaries from this intervention are farmers, households and entrepreneurs.
“Dairy farmers are expected to utilise biogas as a fuel for powering milk chillers thereby enabling them to store milk overnight. This will lead to improved incomes for the farmers. In addition, farmers are expected to increase the number of livestock by using biogas to power incubators, as well as increase their crop yields, through the use of the bio slurry. When it comes to households, they will also be able to use biogas for cooking.
Biogas seeks to substitute usage of charcoal/firewood for cooking, hence would contribute to the health of women and children who were the ones mostly spending time in the kitchen and thereby getting exposed to gaseous emissions that come from charcoal and firewood.
Programme background
Energy for Agriculture (E4A), a Swedish International Cooperation Agency (SIDA) supported renewable energy project being implemented by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation [Zambia]; intends to develop the biogas market in Zambia to increase access of households, public services, and businesses to renewable energy technologies, especially biodigesters. The project aims to develop viable markets for productive biodigesters to improve livelihoods through increased savings on conventional fuel sources and income generation from the productive use of biodigester products – biogas and bioslurry. In addition to triggering consumer demand through promotion, awareness raising and access to finance, the project envisages to develop the supply of biodigesters and productive appliances through skills development and result based finance incentives, and create an enabling environment that supports market development. The project envisages contributing to national aim of poverty reduction by improving livelihoods and quality of life of rural farmers; reducing impacts of biomass resource depletion; and supporting national goals of food production and livestock development. The project seeks to establish a solid foundation in the country to implement large-scale domestic biogas project in the long run.
Under the framework of the project, E4A is supporting the construction and effective operation of domestic biodigesters of sizes ranging from 4 cum to 21 cum. Major focus is being given for awareness building, promotion & marketing, capacity strengthening, quality assurance as well as popularisation and dissemination of biodigester technology at the grassroots level.
Medium sized farms (more than 50 cattle) are one of the major segments of the livestock production sector in Zambia. They generate significant levels of waste; pollute waterways and produce millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. Keeping this fact in view, a research on utilisation of cattle manure from medium scale farms to produce energy was proposed to be carried out under the framework of E4A. This pilot research promotes the introduction of a medium scale biogas digester (50m3 – 500m3), that would solve the manure management problem of medium size farms, whilst providing biogas and electricity, and reducing carbon emissions. The research is expected to develop and stimulate a national sustainable commercial medium-scale biogas digester market to provide Zambia with sustainable energy, benefit from its costs and time saving, reduce its dependency on fossil fuels and benefit from the health and environmental benefits through improved manure management.

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