Biogas plants convert animal manure and human excrement into valuable energy. At household level, small amounts of combustible methane gas are used for cooking and for lighting. A family in posession of a few heads of cattle can generate sufficient gas to meet their basic cooking and lighting needs and use the residue of the process, bio-slurry, as a potent organic fertiliser to enhance agricultural productivity. The technology is suitable for both households and small and medium-sized enterprises.
Over the past 25 years SNV has developed expertise in biogas sector from an initiative with a single manufacturer in Nepal to a vibrant network throughout Asia, benefitting millions of people living in energy poverty. In the years that followed, the replication of the lessons learned led to successful biogas programmes in Africa, and in 2014 we reached the milestone of having installed over 600,000 biodigesters worldwide.
Improving livelihoods is a central focus of the biogas programme. The 600,000 biodigesters installed, allowing the sanitary disposal of both human and animal waste, have vastly improved hygiene and living environments, while providing lighting and cleaner cooking facilities for 3 million people. They have reduced workloads for women, allowing them to earn much needed extra income, and have shifted children’s daily occupation from hours of wood collection to attending school.