Overview of holistic application of biogas for small scale farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa

Egil R. Orskov, Kenneth Yongabi Anchang, Madhu Subedi, Jo Smith (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Holistic farming systems provide designs for the whole farm that make long term sustainable use of nutrients, water, labour, finances and energy. In using organic residues to produce energy, and safely recycling the digested residues back into the farming system, a biogas digester could be a central component of many holistic systems. This paper discusses the influence of environmental, socioeconomic and cultural constraints on the use of biogas digesters in holistic farming systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. In higher altitude areas where maintenance of optimal temperature can constrain anaerobic digestion, floating drum or fixed dome digesters are a better option than flexible balloon digesters because they are less susceptible to temperature changes. If water is a key constraint, rainwater harvesting could be used to reduce the additional labour needed to collect water. If energy is the most limiting resource in the farming system, the optimum use of organic residues might be as a fuel for anaerobic digestion, whereas, if water is limiting, energy production by burning or pyrolysis might be a better option. The bioslurry from anaerobic digestion can be used in fish ponds to produce plankton to feed fish, and can be applied to fertile fields and fields of intermediate fertility, while biochar from pyrolysis is better used to improve the soil in infertile fields. If labour is limiting, it is particularly important that the system design minimises any additional labour needed to process the organic residues on a daily basis, considering trade-offs between labour and other resources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-16
Number of pages13
JournalBiomass & Bioenergy
Volume70
Early online date13 Apr 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

Fingerprint

Biogas
biogas
Sub-Saharan Africa
labor
farming system
Personnel
Anaerobic digestion
anaerobic digestion
farmers
farming systems
energy
pyrolysis
Water
Pyrolysis
Fish ponds
water
drums (equipment)
Plankton
biochar
fish ponds

Keywords

  • Biogas
  • Holistic farming
  • Resource use
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Anerobic diogestion

Cite this

Overview of holistic application of biogas for small scale farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. / Orskov, Egil R.; Yongabi Anchang, Kenneth; Subedi, Madhu; Smith, Jo (Corresponding Author).

In: Biomass & Bioenergy, Vol. 70, 11.2014, p. 4-16.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Orskov, Egil R. ; Yongabi Anchang, Kenneth ; Subedi, Madhu ; Smith, Jo. / Overview of holistic application of biogas for small scale farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. In: Biomass & Bioenergy. 2014 ; Vol. 70. pp. 4-16.
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