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Biogas technology dissemination in Ghana

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:   Biogas technology dissemination in Ghana: history, current 
             status, future prospects, and policy significance

Journal: International Journal of Energy and Environment

Authors: Edem Bensah, Lecturer - Chemical Engineering Department,   
             Kumasi Polytechnic, Ghana; Founding member - CEESD;

             Abeeku Brew-Hammond - Associate professor, Department of
             Mechanical Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science
             and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana; Chairman - Energy Commission of
Despite numerous benefits derived from biogas technology, Ghana is yet to develop a major programme that will promote the dissemination of biogas plants on a larger scale. This paper reviews biogas installations in Ghana and investigates challenges facing the design, construction, and operation of biogas plants. It further captures the current status and functions of biogas plants as well as the impact of these plants on the people who use them. The study was done by surveying fifty (50) biogas installations, and conducting interviews with both plant users and service providers. From the survey, twenty-nine (58 %) installations were institutional, fourteen (28 %) were household units, and the remaining seven (14 %) were community plants. Fixed-dome and water-jacket floating-drum digesters represented 82 % and 8 % of installations surveyed, respectively. It was revealed that sanitation was the main motivational reason for people using biogas plants. Of the 50 plants, 22 (44 %) were functioning satisfactorily, 10 (20 %) were functioning partially, 14 (28 %) were not functioning, 2 (4 %) were abandoned, and the remaining 2 (4 %) were under construction. Reasons for non-functioning include non-availability of dung, breakdown of balloon gasholders, absence of maintenance services, lack of operational knowledge, and gas leakages and bad odour in toilet chambers of biolatrines. This paper recommends the development of a national biogas programme focussing on three major areas sanitation, energy, and agricultural fertilizer production; it further supports the development of standardized digester models. The founding of a national body or the establishment of a dedicated unit within an existing organization with the sole aim of coordinating and managing biogas dissemination in Ghana is proposed.

Keywords: National biogas programme, Biogas technology, Sanitation, Energy, Fertilizer
Reference: IJEE, Volume 1, Issue 2, 2010, pp.277-294

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