Biogas in Tanzania
This offset project invests in improving the access to biogas amongst rural households in Tanzania. The Hivos Foundation in collaboration with SNV the Netherlands has introduced biogas installations across Africa with their Africa Biogas Partnership Programme (ABPP). This initiative stimulates and helps people change from cooking on open fires to cooking with biogas.
In rural Tanzania, 80% of the population relies on open fires for cooking. Preparing meals over an open fire is dangerous to one’s health, expensive, time-consuming, and bad for the environment. It is estimated that a woman in a rural household would walk up to five hours every day in search of firewood for cooking and lighting. This puts them at risks of criminal elements. Carrying wood on their backs triggers a variety of physical problems. This comes over and above the time they spend collecting firewood; time they could spend with their families, working, studying, or socialising.
Owning a biogas installation can solve many of these problems. Even if a family owns just two cows, these digesters can generate enough gas for cooking and lighting. This offset project provides access to such biogas installations in rural Tanzania. They are installed on recipients’ land by local construction companies.
After the manure is placed in the digester, it turns it into biogas that is piped to people’s homes, where it can be used for cooking or lighting. The by-product – a bio-slurry – is a powerful organic fertiliser. With that, the farmer can replace expensive, chemical fertilisers with own organic slurry. Quite a few families have also connected toilets to their biogas digester, which then turns the human waste into sustainable energy as well.
Climate Neutral Group, in collaboration with the Hivos Foundation, helps improve access to such biogas installations by investing in the project through the purchase of carbon credits. Local entrepreneurs are trained to build, install, and maintain the digesters. Households invest in the systems themselves and are supported by the project. Remaining costs are covered by micro-loans. This project carries a Gold Standard certification.
Climate and environment
A biogas installation makes wood and charcoal for cooking and lighting obsolete. This:
- Improves the quality of indoor air and living conditions.
- Boost the region’s biodiversity. The bio-slurry is much better for the soil than artificial fertiliser.
- Fights deforestation.
- Combats climate change because it reduces the emission of CO2 and methane in the atmosphere. The latter greenhouse gas is about 28 times more potent than CO2.
Social and economic
- Biogas improves the living conditions of women. Thanks to these digesters, women and children spend considerably less time on collecting firewood, leaving them with more time to spend with their families, find unemployment and socialise.
- Lighting based on biogas stretches the days and improves living conditions.
- Biogas boosts employment opportunities.
- The bio-slurry increases agricultural output and food security of toilets.
- Fewer fatalities due to indoor air pollution because of indoor open fires. Smoke and soot caused by open cooking fires kill 4 million people per year, globally.
- Fewer neck and back problems as people carry less wood.
- Better hygiene due to the installation of biogas toilets and collection of manure from the animals.