Taken from www.thebioenergysite.com

AllAfrica.com reports that the five year programme is aimed at strengthening Kenya's biogas sector into a viable market through financial and technical upgrades.

Kenya has the potential to sustain about 4,923 biogas units for every district - making a total of 172,312 biogas units in 35 technically stable districts.

Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers said biogas, apart from being used as a source of energy, also produces digested biomass which is an environmentally-improved and more efficient fertilizer compared to raw manure.

Farmers can maximise their crops' uptake of nitrogen by spreading digested livestock manure onto fields during the growing season.

The decomposition process in the biogas plants turns soil nutrients into food which the crops can take up more easily.

The digested biomass can be separated into a fibre portion and a liquid portion (slurry).

Farmers can also use the electricity produced from their biogas system to meet their operational energy demands with the excess being sold to the national grid.

The excess heat from the production systems can also reduce heating costs for farmers in the house, the barn or the food processing facility.

Once gases such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide are removed, biogas can also be added to natural gas lines.

According to the report, biogas plants would deliver renewable energy, substituting fossil fuels and improving energy availability.

"Biogas plants enable synergy between farming, energy production and the environment. They are a multifunctional tool for sustainable development in agriculture, the energy sector and rural areas in general," said the report issued by Mr Joshua Bariu.

The Media Relations Officer said the use of biogas would increase savings on fuel wood at an average of 9,961 tonnes worth Sh52 million, Charcoal at 1,296 tonnes, valued at Sh24 million and is environmentally friendly because it cuts Carbon emissions equivalent to 68,310 tonnes.

"There will be a significant improvement of the health of over 7,000 women and 36,000 children and increased savings on plant nutrients by about 60 per cent as well as organic matter in the soil by about 10 - 30 per cent," said the report.

Small scale farmers who keep two or more dairy cows are good candidates for installing household biogas units.

However, a biogas unit will only yield good results if it is properly planned, constructed, operated and maintained. Regular supply of water is essential for operation of biogas plants.

TheBioenergySite News Desk