Here's some good news:
Having emerged as one of the pioneers in producing biogas from cow dung, the Himalayan nation of Nepal is now successfully transferring its technical expertise to other countries.
Several Nepalese experts have been travelling to countries in South East Asia and Africa to introduce the "clean", homegrown technology that helps reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels and saves forests. Biogas from cow dung is mainly used for cooking in rural areas and also for lighting houses. Renowned for displacing choking smoky ovens with clean cooking stoves, the Nepalese model of biogas has won the prestigious Ashden award.
The Biogas Partnership Project Nepal, a collaboration between the government, donors and non-governmental organisations, has already installed plants for nearly 300,000 households across the country. The project says it helps reduce 7.4 tonnes of greenhouse gases per household per year and protects 250,000 trees during the same period of time. And the expertise gained over the years has benefited many communities in different developing and least developed countries including Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, among others in Asia and around 10 countries in Africa.
Installations are growing in Indonesia too and the technology there has even been named "the Nepal model"."They call it so because they know that it has been tested and proven in Nepal all these years," says Sundar Bajgain, a Nepali biogas expert now based in Jakarta to help Indonesians with the technical expertise. In several African countries, Nepalese experts are not only helping the communities install biogas plants but are also conducting training in schools.
The technology is quite simple and natural: bacteria that comes with the dung from a cow's stomach break down the waste in an underground air-tight digester. In the absence of oxygen, the mixing of cow dung with water leads to a reaction that produces a gas comprising up to 70% methane with the remainder being carbon dioxide. The digested slurry flows to an outlet tank and ends up in the compost pit, while the gas is tapped from the top of the dome with a pipe that ends in the burner of the kitchen stove. Until the last decade, the technology was largely confined to the rural areas of Nepal. Now it has travelled with Nepalese experts far and wide.
Nepal pipes biogas expertise abroad (BBC)
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