Nepal is well known as the country of biogas and progress is appreciable among the donor country. The biogas plant serves the nation in two prospect, providing methane gas, compost bio-fertilizer. Another important thing neglected till now is the biogas as waste management tool as it can treat household degradable waste as well as toilet waste. In the city areas a septic tank is mandatory to build house, here the question shall a biogas system introduced instead of septic tank, it would be another milestone in the sector of biogas development this not only helpful on reducing pollution but also be a part of energy security.
The country has been successful in constructing more than 435,000 household size biogas plants across the country. Similarly, a number of large biogas plants to utilise municipality waste have been constructed. Private sector entrepreneurs have constructed some 3,000 to 4,000 cubic meter size biogas plants as commercial entrepreneurship as well.
Moreover, as said above, biogas plants utilise organic waste, animal manure and even human faecal sludge. The wastes used are good raw materials to produce cooking gas, bio-fertilizers also to clean up the environment.
These are also good tools for waste management in urban and rural settlements including metropolitan cities where as mainly big cities are facing waste management problems. This initiative also can create opportunities to promote poultry, dairy and pig farming for raw materials for biogas plants in quantity.
Biogas plants, therefore, give a benefit to reduce consumption of firewood and LPG as well. The biogas produced by large biogas plants is also used as fuel for vehicles in some places in the country.
The Government of Nepal, Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) which is under Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, various development partner organisations and private sector are doing well to promote biogas plants in Nepal. It is worth to note that Nepal experience in biogas technology is replicated in 23 other developing countries.
AEPC has been conducting alternative energy technologies including biogas plant promotion drive in different modalities. Technical support to household biogas plants construction, large biogas plants, municipal biogas plants and commercial biogas plants.
Academia, experts and professionals argue that biogas technology can contribute extensively to the country helping climate aspects, environmental aspects, and reduce the gap in trade balance policies. But conducive environment in policy need to be entrepreneur friendly where entrepreneurs must be supported in financing, technology research, human resource development.
Biogas systems can contribute extensively to nation’s environment and economy. Firstly, Biogas system is technically good for sanitation. It can solve sanitation problems. Secondly, Biogas system can support better agriculture in the country providing Bio fertilizer, even replacing use of chemical fertilizers. Thirdly, Biogas system can contribute to Energy Security principle as it gives gas for cooking and mobility.
However, experts say that current government policy is limited while R&D, HRD, awareness and financing systems are the hindrances for biogas systems to grow more to an expectable extent. The views carry components for immediate need to take actions to restructure focusing the policy and programmes. The stress on need of entrepreneur and investment friendly policy, support intensive research, studies and developing human resources, support availability and accessibility to advanced technologies, machines and equipment; and ensure market system for desirable revenue by sales of services and products of the plants. Bio fertilizer produced by large size biogas plants could not have been sold to users due to lack of proper information, transportation system and government’s financial support to producers and users is one example.
In this context, Water and Energy Consultants Nepal (WECAN) organised a workshop programme in Kathmandu at the end of June. The organisation considers need dialogues on – Biogas System for Sanitation, Biogas System for Bio fertilizer and Biogas System for Energy Security – among stakeholders is a need to work out on possible policy influences and financial measures for biogas systems to grow.
On the occasion, Former Minister Er. Ganesh Shah said that in Nepal Biogas technology can contribute extensively to sanitation problems while it can also generate gas for kitchen and soil conditioner as fertiliser. There are a number of campaigns on sanitation being conducted in the country that also link one or other way to biogas systems. Young hands for technology improvement and implementation should be developed with active involvement of universities and industries in a rapid way, he opined.
Similarly, Executive Director of AEPC Dr.Madhusudhan Adhikari said that biogas technology in Nepal has wider scopes in producing gas for kitchens and vehicles. Likewise, biogas is good for producing bio fertilizers for agriculture. Moreover, biogas is one of the factors to contribute to energy mix for the country. The policies and funding systems need to be reviewed, he opined. The stakeholders, mainly public sector need to be working better with private sector. The efforts of academia and development partners are also to be well appreciated.
Prof. Dr. Jagannath Shrestha, Prof. Dr. Ramesh Kumar Maskey, Dr. Indira Shakya, Er. Kalidas Neupane and others also spoke on the occasion. (By R.P. Narayan)