Africa’s largest biogas and clean cooking convention: fuelling a silent green revolution

March 24, 2016

Hivos, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity in Ethiopia will host the largest biogas convention in Africa from 5 to 7 April 2016 in Addis Ababa. The Africa Biogas and Clean Cooking Conference will bring together businesses, knowledge institutes, government/policy makers, local and international experts and academia from the energy sector who will discuss challenges and opportunities in the biogas industry and exchange solutions.

Africa’s biogas sector holds a tremendous potential to drive renewable energy solutions through the establishment of a vibrant biogas market that has largely faced challenges in the past.

According to Harrie Oppenoorth, Senior Advisor of Energy and Climate Change at Hivos, the conference will provide a platform to learn from the latest developments of biogas enterprises in countries where a robust biogas sector has kicked off. ‘’The conference gives us a forum to scale up carbon emission-reduction mechanisms through practicable solutions such as use of biogas,’’ he said.

This conference forms part of Africa’s contribution towards reduction of greenhouse gases emissions by establishing a market-based biogas sector that will provide millions of people access to reliable, affordable energy – a source of heat and light for homes, schools and hospitals.

The potential range of household biogas and bioslurry use in African countries is at least 18 million households. However, household biogas still remains an unexploited source of renewable energy in most African countries. The use of biogas from organic waste can significantly reduce dependence on grid energy, which is marred by limited and unreliable supplies, making it difficult for thousands of households to access affordable clean energy.

In addition to Burkina Faso, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia, biogas is also making its footprint in Rwanda, Cameroon, Zimbabwe and Zambia through growing enterprises. This growth has increased demand for sustainable biogas solutions in other countries.

Reiterating the growing need for clean modern energy, the African Union’s Head of Energy Division, Atef Marzouk, said ‘’Biogas is becoming increasingly more popular as a form of energy to power rural communities in Africa who live far away from the electricity grid. As a low-cost integrated system providing alternative energy as well as organic manure, it also provides an answer to reducing gas emissions and improving soil fertility.’’

The conference will highlight:

  • Household biogas technology and the multiple benefits associated with the use of biogas and bioslurry
  • Creation of vibrant clean cooking markets in Africa
  • Reduction of greenhouse emissions and sale of carbon credits
  • Financing the biogas and clean cooking sector to increase affordability and access for small-scale farmers

The Africa Biogas Partnership Programme (ABPP) is a partnership between the Dutch government, Hivos and SNV in support of national biogas programmes in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Burkina Faso. 57,000 biogas plants have already been constructed in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Burkina Faso, providing 300,000 people with access to a sustainable source of energy. This partnership is geared towards constructing 100,000 biogas plants that will enable half a million people to access a sustainable source of energy by 2018.