Socio-economic hurdles to widespread adoption of small-scale biogas digesters in Sub-Saharan Africa: A review
The unsustainable use of fossil fuels has led to increased awareness and widespread research on the accessibility of renewable energy resources such as biogas. Biogas is a methane rich gas that is produced by anaerobic fermentation of organic material. Despite its potential to replace biomass in Africa, where over 70% of the households use wood fuel and agricultural waste for cooking, biogas technology has not been adopted by Sub-Saharan African countries compared to their Asian counterparts. This paper examines the socioeconomic constraints to adoption of biogas in Sub-Saharan Africa and explores factors that could enhance adoption of the technology. These include standardization and quality control, as well as an approach of integrated farming using biogas and slurry. The article recommends mobilization of local and external funds to promote biogas, use of ready to use funds such as the Clean Development Mechanisms in overcoming the initial construction costs of biogas units, and formation of user and disseminator associations to reduce costs by joint procurement and linkage to finance. It further advocates the promotion of multiple uses of biogas for purposes other than cooking and lighting. It is expected that widespread adoption of the technology could lead to self-sufficiency in household energy provision for cooking. This would facilitate environmental management and economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Mwirigi, J.; Balana, B.; Mugisha, J.; Walekhwa, P.; Melamu, R.; Nakami, S.; Makenzi, P. Socio-economic hurdles to widespread adoption of small-scale biogas digesters in Sub-Saharan Africa: A review. Biomass and Bioenergy (2014) 70: 17-25. [DOI: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2014.02.018]