Short Project Summary
Biogas support for Tanzania (BiogaST) helps to improve the rural population’s living conditions in the Kagera region, one of the poorest regions in Tanzania. This is to be reached by the development and construction of a decentralized energy supply through small, adapted biogas digesters for the use of fermentation gas as cooking energy and for lighting. The sustainability of this project is ensured by accompanying training and education on this environmental friendly technology to assure the acceptance of this project within the local population.
BiogaST is implemented as cooperation between Ingenieure ohne Grenzen e.V. - Engineers Without Borders Germay (EWB Germany) - and the Tanzanian non-governmental organization MAVUNO Project.
Detailed Project Description
Biogas support for Tanzania (BiogaST) aims to provide long term assistance for self-empowerment with the focus on improving the living conditions in the rural area of Kagera in Tanzania. This goal should be met through the development and construction of decentralized micro biogas plants using regional existing natural resources with the fermentation of crop residues. The sustainable aspect of the project includes a sophisticated education concept designed to train local engineers and craftsmen in plant construction and operation. More general, an environmental awareness should be shared between the developed world and the developing country of Tanzania.
Ingenieure ohne Grenzen e.V. is a registered NGO. EWB Germany is primarily concerned with engineering activities, training and research in development assistance and development cooperation. The organization consists of engineers who are active in various areas, as well as architects and engineering students. The aim of the association is to help needy people and animals. The financing includes the collection of donations and public subsidies. EWB Germany is organized in regional groups and competence groups. BiogaST is handled and managed by the regional group Berlin and the competence group for renewable energies.
BiogaST is implemented in cooperation with the Tanzanian NGO MAVUNO Project. It has set itself the task of improving the situation in the fields of education, health care, agriculture, health, equal rights for women, support for children, water supply and AIDS education in the Kagera region in the northern part of Tanzania. EWB Germany and MAVUNO Project successfully cooperate since 2006 in the installation of water supply systems in Kagera by using water cisterns. Thus, good relations to the local community and the responsible governmental representatives are ensured.
The Kagera Region is one of the poorest regions in Tanzania. Approximately 95% of its population lives on subsistence agriculture. Wood, dung or plant residuals are used for cooking and lighting: meals are cooked at open wood fires. Consequences of the fire wood usage are the rising deforesting, immense health risks due to the indoor fires and the resulting dramatic change in soil fertility and soil quality. The supply of biogas using micro digesters could contribute to mitigate these problems.
An average family consists of six to eight people. Only few agricultural households are able to keep enough livestock, e.g. cows, to produce a sufficient amount of substrates for their daily demand of fermentation gas. Hence, crop residues show a great potential as a natural resource for fermentation gas. Especially plantains are the basic food source in the Kagera region: each household owns an average of 1.2 hectars of banana plantation with approx. 300 banana trees. The trunk and the leaf sheath of the banana tree are always available after harvesting as a well fermentable substrate. But the effective use of this energy source requires technology adjustments to state of the art micro biogas plants.
BiogaST has yielded to the development of a new simple type of digester, which has been adapted to the conditions of the region and thus offers the possibility of covering the entire need of fermentation gas of small households in rural areas. The newly developed micro digester can be seen as a combination of a Plug-flow Fermenter and a Fixed Dome Digester. The plant circulates process water, hence no fresh water must be added, thereby, the plant operation is guaranteed throughout the entire year, even during drought periods with an increased water shortage. The Kagera region has already to cope with extended drought periods due to the climate change. The second requirement for a successful introduction of micro biogas plants in the Kagera region encompasses the energy supply: as no livestock is available, the plant has to operate with crop residues as the predominantly energy source. As a third requirement, the construction has to be achieved with locally available materials and tools, thus offering great potential for the development of a regional value chain.
Illustrated Data Sheet BiogaST