Nepal : Biogas plants for household energy
|Total savings:||An average of 150,000 tonnes CO2 per year, over the next 4 years|
|Technology transfer:||Biogas units for the energy supply to the rural households of Nepal|
|Local environment:||Replaces non-renewable wood, gas and kerosene, prevents deforestation, produces the useful by-product slurry (fertile liquid manure)|
|Further advantages:||Creates jobs in the construction and maintenance of the biogas units/ Hygiene|
Nepal's territory is geographically divided into three regions: Mountains, Hills and the Terai (Lowland). Of the estimated 26 million inhabitants, about 87% resides in rural areas and only 14% live in urban areas. The country is shaped by subsistence farming. Agriculture is the sector in which more than half of the people are employed.
However, only a part of the area in Nepal is suitable for agricultural use and highly dependent on the monsoon. The increased use of agriculturally unsuitable soils and the consequences of climate change lead to erosion damage, increasing landslides and floods in many places. The situation is exacerbated by the decline of forests. Because wood is the main source of energy for households in rural Nepal for cooking and hence, the forests are deforesting every year. The high population growth and the expansion of agricultural land speed up this process.
Moreover, cooking and heating with wood especially for women and children is a health risk, due to smoke. These are exposed to the nascent smoke during the direct combustion of wood. This is not just making it hard to breathe and irritates the eyes. It also causes serious lung diseases.
Renewable energy technology relieves people and the environment
Under the "Biogas Support Programme" - Nepal (BSP-Nepal) biogas plants are built at individual households in the rural areas of Nepal, in order to guarantee an environmental friendly energy supply. Target group under the project are households who currently use non-renewable biomass (firewood) for cooking purpose The small biogas plants will be built nearby households with at least two head of cattle (generally cows or buffalos) to allow sufficient manure accumulation to feed the plant. The manure from the animals is mixed with water and collected in a septic tank. By anaerobic digestion gas is produced which is collected in the upper part of the tank. This is used for cooking. Families, who install a biogas unit, do not require firewood for cooking.
In addition, a latrine can be connected to the system, which will improve the sanitary conditions in the households. Moreover, living conditions will additionally be improved due to the reduction of indoor-air-pollution in the households. The families, especially women, save time for collecting wood that can now be used for other productive activities. New jobs are arising from the construction and maintenance of the biogas systems. The slurry (fertile liquid manure) can be later used in agriculture land as fertilizer and thus helps to improve the soil and thus saving money from buying chemical fertilizer.
Furthermore, the biogas digesters reduce deforestation and thus avoid soil erosion end loss of biodiversity.