SimGas BV from the Netherlands has developed a system which circumvents the main problems arising for conventional biogas solutions. The GesiShamba (“Farm-Gas”) presents an affordable high-quality fixed dome biogas system designed for livestock holders in (sub-)tropical areas. It is mass-produced in recycled HDPE (high density polyethylen) which reduces material costs, while accelerating the transport and installation process.
The biogas system uses manure and organic waste to produce gas for cooking and the effluent is used as a valuable fertilizer to nourish crops. The GesiShamba was constructed as an all-rounder, which means that it can also be used for co-digestion of (non-lignin) biodegradable materials, further improving the gas yield. The systems are economical, transportable, modular expandable and easy to install – qualities which current biogas systems do not possess.
Playing a key role in African agriculture, smallholder farming accounts for about 75% of agricultural production and over 75% of employment. Smallholders who keep livestock often do not have access to technologies and energy. With deforestation being one of the major environmental issues in Africa, it is a great challenge to find sources of fuel which meet household energy requirements. Cooking on wood and charcoal creates indoor air pollution being one of the mayor causes of death and disease.
Biogas technology, which converts biological waste from livestock into energy, is considered to be the most suitable tool for the supply of energy in these areas. As a clean power source, Biogas meets household fuel needs, reduces energy expenses and improves soil conditions, household sanitation, as well as, indoor air quality.
However, installation of traditional biogas equipment is expensive, time-consuming and often difficult to handle.
The GesiShamba systems, which have been available in Tanzania since mid-2012, were specifically designed to fulfil the needs of smallholders with livestock. Biogas meets household energy needs and reduces energy expenses. It simultaneously also improves soil conditions, household sanitation and indoor air quality. The replacement of solid cooking fuels by biogas results in a carbon emission reduction of at least 6-8 tonnes CO2-eq per year per system (depending on the size of the household) and makes a significant contribution to the reduction of deforestation.
Typically, livestock holders in East Africa have a range of 1-10 cattle. These households can benefit from the installation of a household biogas system (2m3 – 15m3) and earn back their investment within 18 months.
Due to a healthier living environment, a household can also reduce health care expenses. The organic fertilizer which is created as a by-product of biogas production additionally increases crop yields of farmers.