Biogas Programme

In Nepal, nearly 80% of the total primary energy consumption still originates from wood, and further 6% from cow dung. The uncontrolled removal of firewood is detrimental to the forest resources, which have already been decimated through deforestation. The combustion of dung extracts nutrients from the soil; and with the use of wood and dung inside huts without a chimney, the smoke causes respiratory and eye diseases, which affect particularly women and children.

For years already, there has been a nationwide programme for the construction of technologically simple and robust biogas plants, which avoid or reduce the health problems mentioned above. They operate by fermenting cow dung in a subterranean dome, thus producing methane; this gas can subsequently be used for cooking and lighting.

We had already suggested two years ago, albeit without success, to use this biogas programme in farmsteads in Kumbu which own at least two cows. That is technically the minimum requirement in order to run the smallest unit (a reactor of 2 m³). In 2010, the idea has been initiated again from a local source, and we have agreed to grant the farmers a subsidy out of project funds (in addition to existing government subsidies), thus reducing their personal share. Meanwhile the execution of this project component has started. 10 interested farmers have already obtained the mentioned subsidy.