Posted By in AgriProFocus Ethiopia
Posted 8 October 2018 at 09:52

SNV and the Booming Biogas Business


I read an interesting interview with Bert van Nieuwenhuizen, chief technical advisor on shaping biogas markets in Africa.  This interview comes in two episodes; part one focuses on the fine art of building viable biogas markets, part two will explore the value of biogas in relation to climate change and food security. 

Quote: "We expanded our activities to Africa in 2009, when we started the Africa Biogas Partnership Programme. To date, we have supported the installation of more than 60,000 digesters in five African countries. Uptake was not as fast as in Asia, due to the lower level of income and the prevalence of zero grazing (when cows roam around freely it is hard to collect the dung). However, current dynamics are promising. The Kenyan market is vibrant, sales this year has already doubled compared to last year, partially because companies have now introduced prefab digesters onto the market. Also, biodigesters are becoming more and more acknowledged as climate-smart solutions - cutting back on emissions, which is why the governments of Ethiopia and Burkina Faso are strongly supporting market growth."

Read more here: http://www.snv.org/update/booming-biogas-business


Herman Scheepers I agree that the biodigesters are becoming more and more favourable to climate-smart solutions. My findings are that what is currently happening in the world is that NGOs present a business model that is too expensive for the poor and not equally accessible to all. Climate change solutions should not be available to those who has the personal income to apply it. Bert certainly knows this. Finding simple and cost-effective ways to still support SDGs 1 to 7 is something we focus on. Thank you for the info Wim.

2 months 2 weeks ago

Wim Goris Hi Herman, thanks for comment.  Do you see price of biodigesters coming down in next years? Under what conditions?  I am asking in comparison with solar panels.  People expect solar panels prices going down and volumes up. 

2 months 2 weeks ago

Herman Scheepers Wim, it is a very good question. The question of digester affordability has been around for a number of years between the two leading Dutch INGOs. My answer is certainly no, it will not become affordable based on the current SNV business model. The cost of labour and materials increase between 6 - 12% per annum. (Personal assessment in SE Asia). The business model should change where the cost of production reduces. The solar PV business model is a good example. I have spoken to a female agri-entrepreneur in biogas showing new possibilities for agri communities in need of free energy. We have established a working group for Africa to help "sandbox" new ideas around biogas creation that is cheap and effective for the poor. We have seen that farmers that need an energy source, do not have sustainable income to afford a "design" that could have been affordable otherwise. We will certainly provide updated stories from our "African geniuses" in our working group. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1172949912852267/?fref=nf)

2 months 2 weeks ago