Biogas Project being implemented successfully
Biogas technology became an important source of energy that has brought about major changes in life of the villagers in Bhutan.
The Biogas Project was introduced during late 1980s by installing 50 biogas plants in Lhamoidzingkha under Dagana Dzongkhag. It has failed due to lack of responsibility from the institutions. However, the government re- introduced the project and supported the promotion of biogas technology in 2011.
The project manager with Bhutan Biogas Project (BBP) Dorji Gyaltshen said that Bhutan has shown and renewed the keen interest on promoting biogas technology in the country, “The biogas project started as a pilot phase in most feasible and economic potential of four southern Dzongkhags (Samtse, Sarpang, Tsirang and Chhukha) in 2011.” He also said that the project was expanded to Dagana in 2013, and has been implementing successfully for the last five and half year.
The BBP has started with the objectives to contribute to the national aim of reduction of poverty levels by improving livelihood and quality of life of rural farmers, to reduce impact of biomass resource depletion, to support national goals of food production and livestock department and to improve health and hygiene. Project also aims at providing sustainable energy to reduce dependence on firewood and expensive fossils fuels. The BBP contributes to the achievement of the Millennium development Goals to end poverty and hunger and to ensure environmental sustainability.
BBP under Department of Livestock of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests has installed 3,176 plants in 17 dzongkhags, including 2,921 plants for individual villagers and another 246 under various funding from non-govern- ment organizations and international agencies. 178 plants are under construction while 296plants are under processing by BBP. Samtse has the highest nos completed plants of 545 followed by Samdrupjongkhar , which holds the completed plants of 434. About 3,630 plants would be established by end of the project. “We need to establish at least 5,000 biogas plants to avail of the facility,” Dorji Gyaltshen said.
The constructions of the plants generate employment and the output from the biogas helps to increases crop yield. The BBP sent many officials from various agencies to ex and in-country exposure study visits and short term training. 206 livestock officials were trained along with 447 masons from various villages. The project has two plants in Haa, one in Bumthang and a medium scale plant each in Samtse and Gelephu for research and development of biogas.
To reduce the costbarrier, BBP provides loans of Nu.20, 000 per plant to end-users through Bhutan Development Bank Ltd. (BDBL) for a plant with 10% interest payable in three years. The project provides technical support through gewog livestock extension officials who visit the plants and help with the maintenance.
The official said that with the establishment of biogas project a household can save 2,000 kilogram of firewood, 255.5 litres of kerosene and 164.25 kilogram of liquefied petroleum gas, and 1,460 kilowatt hours of electricity in a year.
BBP survey indicated that the biogas has benefited to increase the agricultural production and can be used for cooking and lighting, thereby save up to three hours of household chores.
Project Manager further said that users were satisfied with biogas technology with no identification of any disadvantages. He also said, “The biogas plants also reduce the greenhouse gas emissions with improved manure management.”
However, the project officials said that the understanding of farmers on biogas technology and benefiting are limited. Bhutan being a mountainous country, geographical areas and weather conditions are challenging to install the Biogas plants.
The Bhutan Biogas Project (BBP) is managed and implemented by Project Implementation Unit (PIU) under the Department of Livestock (DoL) with the technical assistance from SNV Netherlands Development Organization in cooperation with Bhutan Development Bank (BDBL) and other national and local stakeholders. The programme funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB) under the framework of Energy for All Partnership Programme and executed by Department of Renewable Energy (DRE) .