How To Start Biogas Production Business

Explore biogas; it’s the fuel of the future…

Although biogas is a product of recycled waste, it deserves a special mention. Biogas refers to a mixture of gases produced by the fermentation of household or agricultural organic waste (like sewage, kitchen waste, animal manure, food scraps and plant material). When all of this organic waste is allowed to decompose in the absence of oxygen, methane is produced. This valuable fuel can be used for heating, lighting and cooking purposes in homes, farms and boarding accommodation facilities (like prisons, hospitals and hostels).

At a time when fossil fuels are becoming less affordable and Africa is fast losing its forest reserves to heavy firewood and charcoal production, the demand for clean, affordable, sustainable and eco-friendly fuels has never been higher. Biogas is an effective and cheaper alternative to all the expensive and environmentally unfriendly fuels we use today. Most importantly, it is ideally suited to Africa.

Africa is still quite new to the concept of biogas, which makes it a big opportunity for the continent. In Asia (especially in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Vietnam), biogas has been in use for more than 50 years. Over two million households in India use biogas as fuel for cooking and heating. In Bangladesh and Pakistan, the number is in the hundreds of thousands. By producing fuel from their own waste, people in developing regions like Africa can cut down the amount of money spent on cooking fuel (which can amount to thousands of dollars in a single year).

Business Concept

Your biogas venture may work best in some of Africa‘s rural communities where cow dung can be used for the fermentation process to produce the gas. Your business could be based on constructing the underground biogas reservoirs and teaching communities how to use and maintain them. You don‘t need to invent the technology, its already out there in various forms. Your business would be based on building, trading, and selling these solutions.

Top Countries & Policy Guidance

If you use animal dung your best option will be to work in communities who rely heavily on animal production with cattle topping the list. You will find such communities across Africa, for example in Uganda, Namibia, and Botswana.

Action & Tips

 The method is not widely used in Africa, so raising awareness and training will be needed to convince locals.

Success Story

Takamoto Biogas (Kenya)

Takamoto Biogas provides Pay-As-You-Go biogas systems in Kenya where its customers, mainly smallholder farmers, pay a small fee to install the biogas system and then prepay using their mobile phone for the biogas they use. Targeting farmers allows Takamoto to leverage the cow dung produced on site, which is directly loaded with water in the system.

Part of a virtuous cycle, the fertilizer produced as a by-product is used by farmers to replenish the soil. Takamoto monitors the biogas system through a GSM-connected smart meter that sends information regarding the maintenance of the unit and customer payment status. Added to the biogas system, Takamoto provides biogas household appliances. As of January 2014, 100 farmers in Kenya were benefiting from Takamoto‟s biogas solutions.

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