Bio­gas Project be­ing im­ple­mented suc­cess­fully

Bhutan Times - - Home - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

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) .

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