As our dependence on fossil fuel consumption increases, it may be wise to explore the benefits of alternatives like biogas, which will contribute greatly towards achieving the national aim of reducing poverty levels, particularly in the rural parts of the country, by increasing livestock development and agriculture. In the long run, this will also help reduce impact of biomass resource depletion.
Bhutan tried biogas production in the 1980s but gaps in the attempt like lack of follow up, training and related services impeded its growth and it eventually failed. But, push for renewable energy initiative has never been so urgent than we feel today.
Good thing about biogas is that one can reduce one’s cooking fuel expenses by almost 80 percent. A household can, for example, save about 2,000kg firewood, 255.5 litres of kerosene, 164.25kg LPG and about 1,460 Kwh of electricity per year. And the best part is, it reduces indoor air pollution caused by incomplete combustion of traditional fuels.
A biogas system will also help convert organic household waste into gas for cooking and lighting. Waste leftovers and vegetables and fruit peels can be used to produce energy, thereby making it easier for us to address the growing problem of managing waste, particularly in the urban areas.
Our aim, though, has to be to encourage wider population beyond those in the rural areas to incorporate the use of biogas as essential fuel for domestic use that is environmentally sustainable. In the rural areas, bio-slurry (mixture of dung and water which enters the biogas plant in semi liquid form) could help increase agricultural productivity by improving soil structure, water retention capacity and controlling fungal pests and insects infestation on vegetables as natural repellant.
The idea is also good for the economy and job creation. We can incorporate biogas with other livestock and agriculture programmes. The many dairy groups in the country could supply animal waste and private sector could be involved in the production of appliances and accessories.
We are increasingly impelled to seek cheaper and sustainable energy for domestic purposes. Biogas gives us the hope of becoming energy-sufficient.