Dairy farmers conserve environment with biogas digesters

Over 6000 farmers who supply milk to New Kenya Creameries Corporation (KCC) are set to benefit from portable digester meant to assist them boost their income and tame use of fuel wood through a financing deal with Kenya Commercial Bank.

Dubbed Blue Flame BioSlurrizGaz, the digester has been hailed as a step in the right direction in environmental conservation at a time when farmers have been accused of felling trees for household use. The ripple effect has been failed rains which have affected crop production and limited pasture.
KCB will finance the digesters with the farmers paying through check off system with the cheapest kit costing Sh65, 000.

According to New KCC Managing Director Kipkurui Lang'at, the new technology will address food insecurity, water shortage, poverty, environmental protection and malnutrition. Similarly, he says by converting cattle manure into methane biogas instead of letting it decompose, global warming gases could be reduced by 99 million tonnes. Dr Lang'at says the use of biogas would generate enough gas for cooking and potentially help reduce global climate change in the country.

The MD told the farmers that the methane produced by anaerobic digestion has some potential as an alternative source of energy. "Unlike fossil fuels, combustion of methane produced in a biogas digester does not result in a net increase in atmospheric carbon," he said.

He further added that anaerobic digesters can lower greenhouse gas emissions from sources like manure and food waste, tapping the methane for important uses instead of allowing it to escape to the atmosphere. He said the biogas can be used to displace fossil fuels in all applications that are designed to use natural gas, such as heating and cooking, and the production of electricity.

Besides helping to mitigate climate change on the global scale, the MD said that anaerobic digestion has the potential to redress pressing environmental concerns at a far more local level.