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From organic waste to high-end tech, how European interest is shifting to Africa’s biogas sector


Given the national interest, the critical implementation of the DiBiCoo project is to link the leading European biogas producers to the emerging biogas sector in developing countries.

Home to the largest cattle population in Africa, with the largest segment of the people located in rural areas, considered the primary energy consumer, Ethiopia is no stranger to renewable energy. Renewable energy like biogas could go back into the account in 1957, but only a tiny portion of the potential is harnessed today. And finding solutions for enormously increasing energy demand is becoming an imperative of our age.

In Ethiopia, biogas development mainly comes from small-scale (household) initiatives. The government largely dominates biogas development. Most of the share in biogas-related investments is government-led, while private sector involvement in the biogas market has been minimal. Biogas project implementation is dominated by public-led investments and is far less funded by the private sector. This has, to some extent, attenuated the popularity and the advancement of existing biogas technologies.

Three years ago, The Digital Global Biogas Cooperation (DiBiCoo) project was designed with an initial budget of 2.9 million Euros to preclude the factors preventing the biogas sector from enhancing and altering as a substitution for energy supply. It is an effort to link European technology providers with emerging and developing markets for new investment opportunities and knowledge transfer.

It is a cooperation project between biogas technology exporting and importing countries, with the overall objective to support the European biogas/biomethane industry by preparing markets to import sustainable biogas/biomethane technologies from Europe to developing emerging countries.

Several factors have converged, making international organizations significant in developing countries’ providing attractive options to Ethiopia’s biogas sectors. For one, Ethiopia is receiving funds from several international organizations as a loan or in-kind donations and cash towards promoting renewable energy technologies in rural communities in Ethiopia. Thus, these international organizations have great potential in financing biogas projects in developing countries.

One of Ethiopia’s best options for future financing for biogas projects is the Development Bank of Ethiopia. The DBE offers three funding possibilities: renewable energy finance, lease finance, and project finance. Considering the amount of money required for large-scale biogas projects, the project finance option could be the preferred solution.

Ethiopia was selected as a potential future market for the biogas sector. The global energy demand is growing and is expected to continue to grow in the coming decades with the projected growth of the population. With the expansion of energy-dissipative economic activities, Ethiopia also seeks to address the ever-growing energy needs, which makes a case for renewables increasingly bright.

DiBiCoo project Team
DiBiCoo project Team

In the two-year collaboration through DiBiCoo, several biogas stakeholders from Ethiopia have obtained the capacity building; stakeholders from Ethiopia also visited biogas plants in Germany and South Africa, attended 11 web seminars, and three days of biogas business model training, and capacity building through training delivered by top biogas experts from all over the world.

As well as profoundly supporting one demo case up to the pre-feasibility study and three follower cases from Ethiopia, several technical reports have also been published related to Ethiopian and other partner countries’ biogas sector experience. The project partners include stakeholders such as the Ethiopian Rural Energy Development and Promotion Center (EREDPC), Ministry of water, irrigation and energy (MOWIE), Lake Tana and Other Water bodies Protection and Development Agency, GIZ Ethiopia, etc. 

The stakeholders are active – from biogas project developers in the country to various other originations and governmental institutions attending workshops and webinars and going on virtual and physical study tours of biogas plants in other countries.

The impact of the project has geared positive outcomes as the biogas stakeholder in Ethiopia learns in detail on how to use biogas for other applications other than cooking.

Several links have been created with international biogas companies, biogas associations, and experts from Germany, Austria, Ethiopia, South Africa, Indonesia, Ghana, and Argentina. Thus, using those companies and experts for future biogas related activities in Ethiopia.

In line with that assessment, the project altered its significant impact towards encouraging the transfer of knowledge and overall growth of the sector. The project enhancing biogas is a key example. The project assists the sector in several aspects especially in capacity building as the training is delivered by top biogas experts from all over the world.

Considering the biogas sector in Africa, South Africa’s biogas sector is more developed. One of the partners for this project is Germany, which is the world’s leading biogas producer.

The project is essential to the future of the biogas sector in developing countries, providing an environmentally sustainable alternative to the more conventional use of organic waste to produce biogas and a waste management option. It is an environmentally friendly solution and helps mitigate methane emissions that would have otherwise escaped from landfills. Thus, the project helps in avoiding environmental pollution that would have otherwise run from landfills and creates environmental pollution.

The project will be finalized in the coming months; intending to optimize the biogas sector, the task set for disseminating the technology, investment opportunities, and adequate knowledge transfer in the short run are the areas where the DiBiCoo project focuses.  

Visit: https://dibicoo.org/  https://biogasplatform.eu/

 



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