An assessment of biogas as a domestic energy source in rural Kenya: Developing a sustainable business model

2018-01-17T11:55:10Z (GMT) by R.G. Hamid Richard Blanchard
Energy poverty in the majority of the rural households in Kenya is a threat to economic and social development; hence the availability of an affordable and reliable domestic energy source is important. This study investigated: the potential resources for biogas for cooking, suitable anaerobic digesters that could be deployed in rural households, and also the viability of a small community biogas business model. Conservative estimates of the business model parameters and sensitivity analysis revealed that there was adequate biogas potential in central and western Kenya while water scarcity affected other regions’ opportunities. Cattle manure was the predominant feedstock, although crop waste has possibilities to contribute to biogas production. Economically and technically, the inflatable tubular digester was found to be the most suitable type for biogas production in rural Kenya. Discounted cash flow analysis of the business model proved a profitable business to supply an affordable household energy at 0.55€/Kg of biogas, with projected household savings of 249€ annually. Labor cost was found to have high significance on the feasibility of the business model which was also sensitive to changes in biogas revenues. Kenya’s rural areas have significant biogas potential to reduce energy poverty, generate income and aid social development.