Alpen Steel | Renewable Energy

~ Biogas


Practical Action is helping farmers in Sri Lanka install biogas units on their farmers to convert cow dung into an alternative power supply.
With fuel wood becoming increasingly expensive and also scarce in some parts of the Sri Lanka, there is a need to look for alternative cooking fuel. Cow manure and biogas technology provides a free, sustainable source of power all year round - and a better income for farmers.

On-farm biogas plants collect cow dung from specially adapted cattle sheds, mix it with water and channel it into fermentation pits. The resulting gas (of which 65% is methane) is produced as a by-product of this fermentation and is collected in a simple storage tank from where it is piped directly into the farmer's home to provide energy for cooking, laundry and lighting.

Practical Action has introduced over 60 new biogas schemes, meeting 75 per cent of household cooking needs, and is now working on setting standards for biogas systems in Sri Lanka.

Incomes have risen as women and girls are freed from up to two and a half hours a day of domestic labour (fuel collection, cleaning smoke-blackened utensils and disposing of animal waste), using the time instead for new income generating activities.

The biogas plants also produce a rich organic waste which is dried and used as fertiliser. Both fertiliser and fuel wood are increasingly expensive in the country and biogas has a potentially important future. It may also be used to manage organic waste in urban settings.

Practical Action has helped commercialise new biogas schemes and has worked with national authorities and universities and with local communities and institutions to ensure that biogas, which was a failing technology, has become a success.
Case studies

Mr Ratnayake and Biogas. 

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