Hi, I am Sarfraz Ahmad from Pakistan. I am 38 years old—quite an old man. Currently, I am a PhD scholar at the Institute of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Sargodha, Sargodha, Pakistan.
Before this, I have been working for the Pakistan Dairy Development Company as Programme Manager (Biogas Programme): a very useful programme for small dairy/livestock farmers to meet their daily energy needs from a cleaner and more renewable source of energy.
There are about nine million dairy farmers in Pakistan. Among them, more than 90% have very small farms: less than three hectares and less than five animals to meet their household needs. You can say that dairy farming is subsistence farming for rural Pakistan.
The collection of firewood and preparation of dung cakes is a common practice for the rural ladies and young girls to cook food daily. The biogas unit is a great relief for them.
In one area of district Jhang, we developed a local vendor and installed a subsidized unit in one village. This unit was s fixed-dome biogas plant, Nepalese model. Seeing is believing. So, after the successful operation of the biogas plant, the local vendor installed about 80 biogas plants in a close circle of 10 villages and still he continues to do so.
This ripple effect of the biogas plant has inspired me a lot and I want to replicate this idea in other areas with potential.
My idea is to develop biogas installation teams at Union Council level, who can install biogas plants using local material and provide gadgets like pressure gauges and hydrogen sulphide scrubbers, and can give after-sale services.
In the first stage, I want to organize three teams for installation in Tehsil Sangla Hill, District Nankana Sahib, and want to install three biogas plants in three different villages around Sangla Hill.
This grant will be used to buy material for the biogas plants, train masons for installation of biogas plants, purchase gadgets, and maintenance of the biogas plants. For third-world countries like Pakistan, having enormous potential to generate enough biogas to meet the needs of their people, biogas plants can be a blessing because they are pro-poor, pro-gender, and pro-environment.
Pro-poor: this technology is for the rural poor who do not have access to piped natural gas or who are unable to pay high electricity cost for cooking their foods.
Pro-gender: women/girls get relief from collection of firewood and preparation of dung cakes for cooking. Also, there is noticeable decrease in indoor smoke because of the usage of biogas
Pro-environment: deforestation is avoided and methane is entrapped to burn for cooking. Otherwise methane is 21 times more potent to the environment than CO2
The idea of biogas plants is quite old, as these were first constructed in early 1960s. But they failed badly due to a lack of after-sale services and a lack of training for usage of biogas plants.
Not only in Pakistan but around the world, billions of people are using crude cooking (three-stone) stoves for cooking their meals by burning wood, crop residues, and animal dung; causing deforestation and environmental degradation.
Carbon dioxide emissions, methane emissions, and deforestation are caused due to use of firewood and animal waste, which in turn destroy the environment and cause respiratory problems in the user because of heavy exposure to indoor smoke.
Biogas Digesters were introduced in the early 1960s as potential solution, but they failed for different reasons.
Biogas technology is a great technology, having a proven track record. The idea is to change the mindset of the people by providing with them hands-on knowledge and experience of biogas digesters, using state-of-the-art technology suitable to local conditions.
Biogas digesters can turn biodegradable waste into clean, convenient, and renewable sources of energy in the form of biogas.
We already had experience from a similar project.
The money USD 5,000 will be spent:
Purchasing of material for biogas = USD 2,500
Gadget (pressure meter, scrubbers, stove) = USD 500
Training of masons = USD 500
Training of farmers = USD 500
Installation of biogas plants = USD 800
Extension activities for farmers to share success stories = USD 200
Blogpost and picture submitted by Sarfraz Ahmad (Pakistan): sarfrazft[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.
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