Biogas is a combustible mixture of gases produced by micro-organisms when manure and other biological wastes are allowed to ferment in the absence of air.
Through harnessed anaerobic digestion, biogas can become an important source of fuel as it is globally available and is a cheap source of renewable energy. In addition, biogas development contributes to environment protection, sanitary improvement, nuisance free agriculture and recycling economy development.
It also plays a most effective role in helping rural women and poverty alleviation.
Biogas technology, at its simplest form, involves the use of digesters that are vessels in which animal and/or human waste and other bio-degradable materials are broken down (digested) by bacteria in the absence of oxygen.
These digesters are often below ground, while the digestion process produces both a methane-rich gas (biogas) that can be used as a fuel for cooking, lighting, and power generation via an internal combustion engine for example, and a nutrient rich liquid fertiliser (bio-slurry).
Therefore, biogas is a safe, affordable and sustainable source of energy, and the digestion process, as a positive externality, produces the bio-slurry. Combine this energy and fertilizer-producing technology with water harvesting techniques, and it is possible to run food gardens even in some of the most adverse climatic conditions.
Biogas is therefore indeed the key to unlock a comprehensive rural economic development strategy that can contribute significantly to improved and sustainable livelihoods.
Our company has carried out pilot projects in the Western Cape (Phillipi) and Eastern Cape (Fort Cox, Fort Hare, Melani Village). The main goal of the project was to set up and commission biogas clusters to empower and to ensure broad-based beneficiation to disenfranchised communities. See also “Pilot project” section.