The Bhutan Biogas Project (BBP), a joint programme of Asian Development Bank, Department of Renewable Energy, Department of Livestock, SNV and Bhutan Development Bank is being implemented in four districts since March 2011.
This annual report gives an overview of activities conducted and results achieved in the period between March 2011 and February 2012 as well as a financial statement till the end of December 2011 per activity. Furthermore the report also contains information on the sector situation, BBP structure and implementation modality. This report also incorporates lessons learnt mainly from field, opportunities and challenges to implement biogas project in Bhutan.
Concluding, BBP has been successful in carrying out preliminary activities aimed at identification of critical mass, preparation of promotional tools, awareness raising at the community and households level, capacity building of stakeholders, technical training to masons and supervisors, and commencement of construction of biogas plants. The number of plants installed is bit short of the set target because of various reasons. BBP is fully satisfied with the progress and feels that a strong foundation has been built to disseminate biogas technology in the future. All the installed plants are functioning satisfactorily, and the users are happy with the performance of their biogas plants. These functional plants have been spreading positive message to potential farmers to install biogas plants. BBP is confident that the positive words of mouth from the satisfied users would be instrumental in speedy promotion and extension of biogas technology in the country.
A feasibility study conducted in Bhutan in 2008 concluded that a small scale domestic biogas program is possible with a technical potential of about 20,000 biogas plants especially in the southern belt and inner mountain valleys. The key question for the development of a substantial biogas program was whether the households having enough number of cattle to install biogas plant are willing and able to invest in it and to feed the plant with the required amount of manure on a daily basis. Hence this market study was conducted to analyze the technical and socio-economic feasibility of biogas program, which assessed the willingness and affordability of livestock keeping households to invest in biogas technology.
Half the population depended on agriculture and is therefore based in the village implying that the biogas plants (home-based) can be managed. Farmers have sufficient land to install biogas plants and slurry pits although location of the cowsheds may not always be near the houses and kitchens in some of the households. There were substantial differences in income among sampled households. Some implied living under poverty while some did not earn any income. Those at the lower rung of the income ladder may not be able to afford to invest in biogas plants unless some financing incentives are provided.
In general, farmers owned cattle and other smaller livestock. Most farmers qualify to install biogas since the majority own more than 3 cattle with the average cattle holding being 6 cattle, most of which are night stalled cattle.
Feasibility of a biogas programme in Bhutan (2008).
This report assesses the feasibility of establishing and implementing a National Domestic Biogas Programme (NDBP) in Bhutan by relying on field visits, and meetings with government officials and households.
The general study findings indicated that a small NDBP would be feasible in Bhutan (20,000 plants). There were sufficient numbers of cattle for dung. Further, investment return on biogas in relation to Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), firewood, and electricity was considered financially beneficial. Another positive outcome was the high governmental interest in promoting and committing to the biogas programme. Given that collaboration with Renewable Energy Division was established, the Department of Livestock would be the most suitable implementation partner. Challenges that needed to be dealt with before establishing the programme were also evident. One such issue was the small size of the biogas sector in the country, which is likely to discourage private sector from involvement in plant construction. Further, biogas could not be produced everywhere in the country due to low temperature, irrespective of the sufficient number of cattle available. Construction and maintenance services would also be difficult as there are no motor roads to the scattered houses.
Based on the strengths and threats identified, recommendations for future steps in the realization of the
programme were designed. Some of them included the need for knowledge transfer from Nepal to Bhutan, as a similar biogas model has been promoted and proven to be successful in Nepal and in mountain regions. All other comprehensive recommendations can be found in the report.