Mr. Gilberto Robleto is satisfied with his new bio digester. He is the owner of the restaurant El Bosquecito in Boaco, and is saving about 18,000 cordobas ($ 656) per year by using the bio digester system that he installed with the support of the Biogas Market Development Programme Nicaragua (PBN).
Prior to using biogas, he used ten 25-pound cylinders of butane each month and 450 logs of wood to cook for customers and staff of El Bosquecito. With the gas provided by the bio digester system, the Robleto family now only purchases five cylinders and also has significantly reduced firewood consumption. The 9-cubic meter biodigester that Mr. Gilberto installed provides cooking fuel for five hours each day in a three-burner kitchen.
The adoption of biogas systems in rural areas of Nicaragua is allowing farms and families owning livestock-based businesses to be more productive, to generate significant savings as well as other benefits to their environment, health and family. The PBN supports farmers in accessing clean energy with an incentive bonus of $480 which is applied to the cost of technology; it performs a rigorous quality control on building and operating biogas systems, and provides training and technical assistance on uses and applications of biogas for domestic and productive purposes, as well as of bioslurry as organic fertilizer, and Good Livestock Practices. As of July 30, 2015, the PBN has delivered more than $148,488 as incentive bonus to male and female farmers who have already completed building and installing biogas systems.
The biogas produced by the bio digester can be leveraged for domestic purposes in the biogas kitchen and with the application of organic manure, bioslurry, in their crops; also for productive purposes regarding the operation of grass choppers, pumps and milking systems, among others. Mr. Gilberto aims to recoup the investment made within two years. The Nicaraguan system of fixed dome biogas has a lifespan of over 30 years.
He is also profiting from the 7 cans (20 liters) of organic fertilizer generated daily by the biogas system, which he applies over corn, beans and plants of El Bosquecito. Robleto stated that he applied previously 3-4 quintals of urea and now he is no longer using any chemicals. A quintal of urea has a market value of 650 cordobas, which makes him save 1,950 cordobas in three quintals per production cycle. In the future, Mr. Gilberto intends to use the bioslurry in plots of vegetables for the family's consumption and in the installation and production of worm farming.
The farming families who have installed biogas systems have improved their living conditions, they have increased their farms productivity and have obtained significant savings by not purchasing chemical fertilizers and fuel. The use of biogas technology is decreasing the effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) which is the greenhouse gas which mostly influences global warming.
The PBN is implemented by SNV Nicaragua, in partnership with HIVOS through an investment of 6.2 million dollars from the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), SNV, HIVOS and local contributions.