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By: Harold Msanya

A biogas research project which ECHO East Africa is implementing in collaboration with CREATIVenergie UK has taken another step of innovation whereby owners of biogas digesters can now package surplus gas and sell to non-owners of the biogas digester. This step aims to enable people who do not own a biogas digester to access clean and affordable energy in order to improve their livelihoods and for biogas digester owners to generate income from the digester. Below is the testimony of Evelyn Maguo who has been impacted by the technology of packed biogas in bags.

Evelyn Mguo’s family is a consumer of bagged biogas who participated in phase one of the research project –‘Peer to peer’, a business model to test the viability of retailing methane gas in portable bags, from the farm gate of a biogas digester owner for distribution/sale to a  neighbor. Evelyn says, 

I don’t have a biogas digester but my neighbor Charles Kirimbai has one. I have been using different types of energy sources mainly bottled (liquified petroleum) gas (LPG), charcoal and firewood. LPG cooks fast but it is expensive. One bottle of 10kg lasts one month while the small bottle of 6kg lasts two weeks.

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Figure 2. Herry Charles, ECHO biogas technician interviews Evelyne Maguo, a consumer of bagged biogas, at her home in Arusha.

Both charcoal and firewood are difficult to access during the rainy season. I rarely use charcoal and firewood to cook local foods such as Makukuru and Ndizi. I grew up in a family that used firewood as the only source of energy and hence I used to believe that certain local foods taste better if they are cooked using firewood. I have now used the bagged biogas for three weeks and in my opinion it is a good option. I have managed to cook all types of foods that I used to cook using LPG. One (1m³) bag lasts 3 to 4 days and if it can be obtained for Tsh 2,000 per bag, it means I will cut down the cost used for LPG and other sources by almost 50%. My only request is for the project team think about how to package it in larger quantities so that it can last longer for at least seven days or more.

For more information about biogas technology and to learn more about this research project please reach out to Harold Msanya, ECHO East Africa Innovation Coordinator through e-mail: hmsanya@echocommunity.org