The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum (MoE&P) recognizes that there is over reliance on biomass energy for cooking and heating particularly in the rural areas. The Ministry also notes that wood fuel (firewood and charcoal) is the commonly used biomass fuel, thus impacting negatively on the environment and the users, especially women and children who spend a lot of time in the kitchen environment. The Energy Policy, 2004 explicitly pledged to promote domestic and institutional biogas technology, among other renewable energy sources.
There have been several promotional efforts by the Ministry, development partners and private stakeholders since the 1980s, but the spread of this technology has remained extremely low. According to the feasibility study, ‘Promoting Biogas Systems in Kenya’, commissioned by Shell international in 2007, a high proportion of the biogas digesters operated below capacity, were dormant or in complete disuse after construction. The report further indicated that only 30% of the 2,000 biogas plants earlier constructed were fully operational at the time of the study. To-date, it is estimated that the country has 20,000 biogas systems, which is a great improvement, although the potential is much higher.
2.1 Domestic biogas
i) 17,000 digesters constructed in 36 counties in five years, under the Kenya Biogas Programme supported by the Dutch Government. The Ministry Chairs the Programme steering committee.
ii) About 1,000 digesters constructed by Energy Centres’ artisans – Majority of the Energy Centres have biogas demonstration units, among other technologies and have been involved in promotion and offering technical support to the clients.
iii) About 2,000 digesters have been installed by private domestic biogas entrepreneurs, including Takamoto, Sustainable Energy Strategies, Taita biogas ltd. and Afrisol, among others.
2.2 Institutional biogas
In order to offer training on the biogas technology in the institutions of higher learning, the Ministry has engaged in construction of large digesters in a number of institutions as shown below:
i) Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology, Kiambu County – 385 M3
ii) Kaimosi Teachers’ College, Vihiga County – 200 M3
iii) College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, Kiambu County – 120 M3
iv) Siana Boarding Primary School, Narok County – 120M3 (2x60M3-sewage and cowdung).
2.3 Generation of electricity from flower waste
The Ministry undertook a feasibility study in two flower farms to produce biogas from flower wastes, which in turn run electricity generators. This was a Public-Private-Partinership arrangement where the farms’ management procured the biogas generator including all the accompanying electrical works, whereas the Ministry supported the civil works.
i) 400 M3 digester constructed at P. J. Dave Flower Farms Ltd., Isinya to generate 100kW.
ii) 200 M3 digester constructed at Ereka Holdings Ltd, Simbi Roses, Thika to generate55kW.
Preliminary results indicate that,
a) One (1) ton of flower waste produced 60-80 M3 of biogas depending on the feeding rate and temperatures.
b) One (1) M3 produced 0.94 kWh of power.
This was a great relieve to the farm management, with regard to high electricity bills. The two two farms use the generated power to pump water from boreholes, which consumes a lot of electricity.
2.4 Technical support to the Kenya Prison Service
The Ministry has partnered with the Kenya Prison Service, to offer technical support in the biogas programme, which has been rolled out in the correctional facilities across the country. To date, 14 large scale digesters have been constructed with more expected to be implemented. This initiative has reduced firewood consumption by 30% in some institutions, though acceptability of the technology in some institutions still remains a problem.
Achievement: A total of 14 big digesters have been constructed with a plan to expand the programme to cover other correctional facilities. A total of 32 correctional facilities were visited to assess their suitability to undertake the project. A further assessment of the programme performance was carried out in 25 facilities.
The table below provides a summary of the key players in the sector and the achievements as at 31st October 2017. It should be noted that there could be many more players not captured and efforts will be made to include them in future.
Table 1 – Domestic and institutional biogas digesters
ITEM NUMBER NAME OF INSTITUTION
CUMULATIVE BIOGAS DIGESTERS REMARKS
(A)MINISTRY OF ENERGY AND COLLABORATORS
1 MoE and GTZ’s Special Energy Programme 400 1987-1992 marked the first rigorous intervention to promote biogas by MoE and GIZ
2 Kenya National Domestic Biogas Programme/Kenya Biogas Programme (funded by Dutch Government) 17,000 – spread in 36 counties MoEP chairs the National Steering Biogas Committee that coordinates the programme. Phase I, (2009-2013) with Ksh 25,000 subsidy achieved 12,000 against a target of 8,000. Phase II, (2014-2018) without subsidy, has a target of 26,500 biogas plants.
3 MoEP –Energy Centres’ initiated domestic biogas digesters 1,000 An annual average of 50, mainly floating drum types, in addition to on-station demonstration.
4 MoEP- large institutional biogas digesters using cow dung and sewage 6 JKUAT, Kaimosi Teachers, UoN (College of Agriculture, Kabete), Mang’u High School, Isinya Girls, and ongoing construction at Siana boarding Primary School
5 MoEP and Flower farms -Feasibility study on biogas production from flower waste 2 Biogas used to generate electricity at Isinya-P.J. Dave Flowers Ltd (100kW) and Thika-Eureka Holdings (55kW)
6 MoEP and Kenya Prison Service collaboration in biogas programme 14 MoEP assessed all 14 biogas plants and offered technical recommendations in 18 other correctional facilities so as to up scale the biogas programme.
(B)PRIVATE FIRMS’ INITIATIVE
7 Tunnel Engineering Company Ltd, Fort Tenan, Kericho 160
(130 small and 30 large digesters) Constructed first digester in 1957 mainly for organic fertilizer. Promoted biogas technology up to 1986.
8 Sustainable Energy Strategies 750 A Carbon credit registered project within the Nairobi River Basin.
9 Takamoto Ltd. 100 – Kiambu County Promoting portable digesters in Githunguri, Kiambu County
10 Taita Biogas Ltd. 400 Based in Taita Taveta County installing domestic digesters, but installed a 36 m3 digester at St. Mary’s High School, saving 50% of firewood.
140 – (120 domestic and 20 institutional) Constructed a 372m3 digester near Chaka, Nyeri County, with a power capacity of 60kW, for own use.
12 Gorge Farm – Biojoule 1 Utilizes agro wastes to produce 2.2 MW (2 MW to the grid, 0.2kW farm operations).
13 Oilvado Company Ltd. 1 340kW system utilizing avocado waste after oil extraction
14 Pine power ltd. 1 150kW digester at Kilifi using sisal waste and cow dung
15 James Finlay Ltd. 1 160kW power generated from flower and tea wastes
16 Slaughter house waste 2 30kW Dagoretti and 248m3 Keekonyoike. The latter has attempted packaging of biogas
3.0 POSSIBLE CAUSES OF BIOGAS SYSTEM FAILURES
o Poor maintenance
o Poor dissemination strategy by promoters
o Poor planning and monitoring by promoters
o Poor construction or design leading to gas pressure problems
o Acceptance problems- recharging seen as dirt by some beneficiaries
o Limited water supply
o Weak technical support
4.0 CHALLENGES IN BIOGAS TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
– High costs of installing the systems
– Lack of capacity to install high volumes of biogas, creating a need to increase the number of technicians/artisans
– High systems failures
– Inadequate or lack of post installation support. Normally a guarantee of 12 months is provided
– Poor management and maintenance, possibly due to competing land uses with fodder plots
– Inadequate or lack of technology awareness
– Scarce and fragmented promotional activity
The Ministry is committed to the promotion of the biogas technology and will continue funding institutional biogas systems, based on
needs assessment. Further, the Ministry plans to install demonstration units across the country to promote domestic biogas systems