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.