PROVIDING MAASAI HOUSEHOLDS ACCESS TO A RENEWABLE SOURCE OF ENERGY
Mpuai Community, Maasai Mara, Kenya
GOALS AND STRATEGY
Our project addresses technical, financial, and informational barriers to the dissemination of
biogas production for cooking in the Mpuai Community, Maasai Mara. The objectives are to decrease the incidence of respiratory and eye diseases caused by the smoke of wood and
charcoal fires, and to reduce deforestation due to firewood collection. The strategy is to integrate livestock husbandry, rainwater harvesting, and solar energy usage in order to reduce the households’ dependency on unsustainable energy resources for lighting and cooking. Our goal is to provide at least five households with biogas digesters until the end of the year 2011, and to add another 10 households in 2012.
The Mpuai community members are cattle keeping pastoralists, who graze their herds on the
semi-arid rangelands of the Maasai Mara ecosystem. During night time, the animals are
kept in enclosures. The dung produced at night by the corralled animals can be used as a fuel for biogas (methane) production. When mixed with water, cattle dung is an excellent substrate for biogas production, which can be used as an energy source for cooking and lighting.
We develop low-cost biogas digesters together with Mpuai community members.
We aim for a digester technology which • is safe and simple to implement;
• is affordable to individual households;
• can be maintained by the owners with-out external support, and
• is of acceptable durability (min. 5 years)
Our research revealed that the tubular plastic (polyethylene) digesters can best meet all of these conditions, relative to the so-called fixed dome and floating drum digesters. Introducing biogas digesters also complements our “One Household – One Solar Lamp” project, in which we provide Mpuai community members access to low-cost solar panels and lamps for in-door lighting.
COSTS AND FINANCING
Building the biogas digesters requires tubular polyethylene (PE) sheets, PVC pipes for substrate in- and outlets, rigid or flexible plastic hosepipesfor the gas line, and a standard gas stove for cooking.
Estimated costs of materials for a family size tubular PE biogas digester are US$ 200. Transportation, labour, and project overhead costs are estimated at US$ 400. Financing comes from in part from the households themselves, which will be asked to contribute US$ 100 to the material costs of each digester. The remaining costs have to be financed through donations.
In total, we have to raise US$ 7500 in donations in order to be able to build 15 digesters until the end of the year 2012.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
You can help making this project
a success in several ways:
- by offering your know-how
- by joining us in building the digesters
- by finding new supporters
- by donating in money