Biogas Technology in Bolivia (Region Cochabamba)

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For an overview of the biogas technology, see:

Biogas Dissemination Programme - History

In 1986, the GIZ, in cooperation with the Universidad Mayor de San Simon (UMSS) in Cochabamba began a project to disseminate biogas technology. Until 1989 these activities were part of the supra-regional GTZ Biogas Dissemination Programme. From January 1990 to the end of 1992 the biogas activities were continued as a component of the Bolivia Special Energy Programme started at that time.

By consolidating biogas technology into the Departamento Cochabamba and into the general background of national energy and landscape planning by means of the National Biogas Network, the aim was to integrate "biogas technology into the agricultural production process" so that the "destruction of agricultural ecosystems" could be curbed and "energy and organic fertiliser" could be produced decentrally. 27 plants, 9 of them in the Cochabamba area, were produced by varying measures carried out by varying organisations and of which only 1 was still functioning in 1988.

In a development policy respect, the project was seen at that time to provide access for the economically weaker groups of the population to biogas technology and to improve their general economic situation. In 1988 the project purpose was defined to be "the creating of fundaments on which to extensively disseminate biogas technology through Bolivian institutions by carrying out training and building demonstration plants". Credits, training and the improvement of project management were to allow a high-performance dissemination structure. Here, one emphasis was placed on the integration of the technology into local, regional and national socio-economic structures and on the dissemination of the so-called "Integrated Farming Systems". The biogas plants were mainly understood in this connection as "fertiliser plants" which make a contribution to strengthening intensive animal husbandry and to supporting agricultural production.

In the knowledge that the project regions of higher altitude were unsuitable for biogas dissemination, the Biogas Office concentrated more and more on the migrational regions in the tropics with an inferior infrastructure. Here, approx. 35 plants were built between 1989 and 1992.

A survey carried out by the Biogas Office has identified interesting potential, particularly in Santa Cruz, in the field of industrial and communal sanitation. After having built a UASB (upflow anaerobic slugde blanket) plant for the Palmasola prison the attempt is now being made to establish consulting in the field of anaerobic wastewater treatment. At the time of the survey this target was endagered because of missing a budget, unclear legal status and only partly consolidation of the Biogas Office on the demand and supply level.

Recent Biogas Development in Bolivia

Further Information