~ Kesetaraan Biogas Energy Content


A methane-powered lantern, East Timor.
Photo: Michael Riach/Oxfam

In most rural areas of East Timor there is no electricity. Portable generators provide a limited service to communities that can afford diesel.

Oxfam New Zealand is supporting its East Timorese partner,  Movimento Cooperativo Economico-Agricola (MCE-A), in the development of biogas generation as a sustainable energy source for rural communities.

Biogas is the product of a biological process known as anaerobic digestion. In the absence of oxygen, anaerobic bacteria decomposes organic matter and produces a gas mainly composed of methane (60%) and carbon dioxide: biogas.

The formation of biogas is a natural phenomenon occuring in wetlands, manure, and human and animal intestines. For centuries, humans have harvested the power of bacterialogical digestion,  using the gases for cooking, heating or engine fuel.  

Biogas can be used as an energy source for generators, boilers, burners, dryers or any equipment using propane, gas and diesel. Equipment requires only minor adjustments to run on biogas. The Biogas can provide lighting for students to read at night, work, community meetings etc.

MCE-A has developed a Biogas Pilot Project in Suai city.  The pilot project is designed to be a training facility in biogas production and a centre for research. 

The plant consists of:

  1. A tank and biogas digestor designed to hold waste and collect gas.
  2. An effluent overflow pond (effluent is used for fertiliser).
  3. Gas pipes leading to houses for cooking, lighting or to power a portable generator. The generator produces electricity which can be sold through connecting lines.


Biogas resources:

MCE-A has been a partner with Oxfam New Zealand since 2005. Since MCE-A was established in 1999, it has grown rapidly from an initial group of eight rice and coffee farmers cooperatives. Their membership now includes 45 cooperatives in rural areas of Timor Leste.  

The project is partly funded by the East Timorese government, Contact Energy and Oxfam New Zealand

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