Over the last fifty years, biogas technology has been promoted by national and international organizations (both Government and NGO) and they, together with trained Kenyan technicians have built hundreds of biogas digesters in the country. Biogas is suitable where there is a significant amount of feedstock for the digester (i.e. animal, vegetative and/or human waste) and a readily available supply of water. Cow dung is the most commonly used feedstock for household digesters.

Earlier evaluations showed that, a high proportion of digesters appear to operate below capacity, are dormant or in disuse after construction because of management, technical, socio-cultural and economic problems. Consequently, biogas technology has acquired a less favorable reputation and the penetration rate of biogas technology in the country remains very low. A study[1] undertaken in 2007 estimated that up to 2,000 units have been installed in total. Biogas technology has been actively promoted in Kenya since early 1980s. However, despite this and the apparent potential, technology uptake has been slow. The study identified several challenges facing the promotion and uptake of biogas technology: High costs of installing the systems, lack of capacity, a high failure rate of the technology in the past, inadequate post installation support, poor management and maintenance, inadequate technology awareness, scarce and fragmented promotional activity and standards i.e. lack of quality control

The ongoing Kenya National Domestic Biogas Program (KENDBIP), funded by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is supporting the promotion, dissemination and adoption of the domestic biogas technology as a local alternative sustainable energy source through the development of a commercially viable, market-oriented biogas sector. The program aims to stimulate the installation of 8,000 domestic biogas plants of a capacity between 6m3 – 12m3 by December 2013, prioritizing high agricultural potential regions. To address the high cost of installing systems the program is offering a subsidy for systems installed under the program.

In 2010, a GIZ funded study considered data on theoretical potentials from 13 selected groups of biomass available from the agro-industrial business in Kenya and for municipal solid waste in Nairobi. The study identified municipal solid waste, and waste from sisal and coffee production as the most promising sectors with a total average installed electricity generation capacity of 80MW.

Kenya National Domestic Biogas Program
[1] Promoting Biogas Systems in Kenya: A Feasibility Study; Prepared on behalf of Biogas for Better Life An African Initiative; Commissioned by Shell Foundation and conducted by ETC Group in October 2007

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