Biogas is a low cost form of energy derived from renewable ‘waste’ resources: animal manures, agricultural residues, industrial wastewater, human waste and other organic materials. In Russia, USA, EU, China, India and Nepal, biogas has been used widely as a source of energy and waste treatment, and as liquid fertiliser for soil enhancement, since the 1950’s. By 2005, there were over 25 million small-scale operational biogas systems worldwide – with over a million now being installed each year – as well as over 100,000 large centralised biogas plants capturing biogas for conversion to useful energy.
A biogas digester – in which the biogas is produced – also provides an ideal on-site water-borne sanitation system, as well as an integrated organic kitchen and garden waste recycling opportunity.
Capturing of methane through the use of biogas technology has an immensely important role to play with respect to rural energisation, poverty alleviation and development, increased industrial efficiency and competitiveness, and improved management of our greenhouse gas
emissions. For example, there are over 300,000 rural South Africa households that are technically viable beneficiaries of onsite energy production through biogas technology to meet all their cooking needs; in 1994, agricultural emissions alone accounted for 9% of South Africa’s total greenhouse gas emissions.