SNV launches historic biodigester pilot

Gas burner on table

SNV is delighted to announce that we have recently started construction of the first larger size biodigesters (80 M3 and 60 M3) in Ethiopia which will be used to produce biogas and bio-slurry, including for productive use.

The two biodigesters are being built as part of the Biogas Dissemination Scale-Up Programme (NBPE+) which is currently being implemented in Ethiopia.

The first site which was identified for the pilot is a dairy farm in Sululta, Oromia region. The dairy farm is called ‘Melkam Endale Dairy Farm and Milk Processing PLC’ and is located about 40 Km from Addis Ababa.

It is estimated that this fixed-dome biodigester aptly named Kefita2011 which means moving to a higher level will produce (41.4 kg methane per day). The bio-digester will be fed with 1,200 Kg of fresh dung directly from the cowshed, a little water and cattle urine and will also incorporate a toilet connection.

The biogas produced will be used for thermal and hopefully for electricity generation and the bio-slurry will be used as improved manure for fodder production and other agro-production.

The biogas produced in this particular pilot will be used for the following:

  • 12KW electricity generation for milk chillers

  • Biogas for cooking and for heating water to be used for cleaning/sanitation

  • Bio-slurry and composting for organic fertiliser to be used for fodder production and possibly for integrated farming. Surplus bio-slurry will be sold to the market as compost.

The second site is located in Sebeta town which is just 25 km away from Addis Ababa. The size of biodigester is 60 M3 and is under construction at a nunnery called “Sebeta Gethsemane Bete-Denagil Tebabat Nunnery”.  More than 300 people live at this establishment including boarding school girls, nuns, dairy farm workers, guards etc.

The digester feedstock is dairy cow dung, urine mixed with stable wastewater and also incorporates a toilet connection. This digester will produce 23.3 M3 biogas which will cover 60% of the daily energy need for cooking by replacing 65 kg of fuelwood and 1.1 kg of LPG per day.

Large biodigester construction

Large biodigester construction

The biogas produced will be used for productive use

The biogas produced will be used for productive use

In addition, for this pilot phase, SNV completed a training course on a detailed feasibility study for larger size bio-digesters for 6 consulting firms and 20 programme staff which incorporated classroom and on-the-job training.

The classroom training for 8 construction companies and programme staff also commenced at the beginning of this year. From the 28th January, the on-the-job training and actual construction work in the Melkam Endale Dairy (in Sululta) commenced.

NBPE+ has a target of 40 larger size bio-digesters piloting (30 to 80 M3) in the years 2 and 3. With successful piloting, we will hopefully continue this activity, in the remaining years of NBPE+.

With this new development, SNV is creating history in Ethiopia, in particular, and in Africa, in general with the promotion of larger (than household) size bio-digesters through our ‘market-based approach’.