Africa’s largest biogas and clean cooking convention: fueling a silent green revolution

Africa’s largest biogas and clean cooking convention: fueling a silent green revolution

Hivos, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity in Ethiopia are hosting the largest biogas convention in Africa in Addis Ababa from 5 to 7 April 2016.

The Africa Biogas and Clean Cooking Conference brings together businesses, knowledge institutes, government/policy makers, local and international experts and academia from the energy sector to discuss challenges and opportunities in the biogas industry and to exchange solutions.

Africa’s biogas sector holds a tremendous potential to drive renewable energy solutions through the establishment of a vibrant biogas market.

According to Harrie Oppenoorth, Senior Advisor of Energy and Climate Change at Hivos, the conference provides a platform to learn from the latest developments of biogas enterprises in countries where a robust biogas sector has kicked off. ‘’The conference gives us a forum to scale up carbon emission-reduction mechanisms through practicable solutions such as use of biogas.’’, he said.

“In addition to access to energy and reduced emission reductions, the conference will address the positive impact on health, fuel savings, job creation, improved sanitation and the agricultural benefits of bioslurry,” added Harm Duiker, SNV project director for the Africa Biogas Partnership Programme (ABPP) initiative.

The conference forms part of Africa’s contribution towards reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by establishing a market-based biogas sector that provides millions of people access to reliable, affordable energy – a source of heat and light for homes, schools and hospitals.

The potential of household biogas and bioslurry use in African countries is at least 18 million households. However, biogas still remains an unexploited source of renewable energy in most African countries. The use of biogas can significantly reduce dependence on grid energy which is marred by limited and unreliable supplies making it difficult for thousands of households to access affordable clean energy.

In addition to Burkina Faso, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia, biogas is also making its footprint in Rwanda, Cameroon, Zimbabwe and Zambia through growing enterprises. This growth has increased demand for sustainable biogas solutions in other countries.

Reiterating the growing need for clean modern energy, African Union’s Head of Energy Division, Atef Marzouk, said: ‘’Biogas is becoming increasingly more popular as a form of energy to power rural communities in Africa who live far away from the electricity grid. As a low-cost integrated system providing alternative energy as well as organic manure, it also provides an answer to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving soil fertility.’’

The conference highlights:

  • Household Biogas technology and the multiple benefits associated with the use of biogas and bioslurry

  • Creation of vibrant clean cooking markets in Africa

  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and sale of carbon credits

  • Financing the biogas and clean cooking sector to enable affordability and access for small-scale farmers.

The Africa Biogas Partnership Programme (ABPP) is a partnership between the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hivos and SNV in support of national biogas programmes in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Burkina Faso. This partnership is geared towards constructing 100,000 biogas plants that will enable half a million people to access a sustainable source of energy by 2017.

The overall objective of the ABPP is to work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by developing a commercially viable, market-oriented biogas sector that will support the use of domestic biogas plants as a local, sustainable energy source.

Already on its second phase of implementation, over 56,000 household biodigesters were constructed in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Burkina Faso, providing nearly 300,000 people with access to a sustainable source of energy.

This article was initially published by Hivos.

This is the link to the Africa Biogas Partnership Programme website.

Photo credit: Russel Watkins.