Biogas trade between host and refugee communities

by Katrin Puetz

from (B)energy

Our solution

Biogas as business: (B)energy provides access to a simple and affordable biogas production unit, which allows to use all available substrate (organic waste) in an area to produce biogas for sale. With the biogas backpack excess gas can be stored and sold as alternative cooking fuel - here from host communities to refugees. This combines waste management, income generation, local business, women empowerment, stops deforestation, reduces expenses and allows clean cooking.

What's the business opportunity for host and refugee community

If host communities are granted access to our biogas technology and services, individual households can get involved in producing biogas from their available substrate (animal dung, organic waste, human faeces). This gas can be used by the producing household for cooking and any excess gas can be sold to the refugees/the camp as cooking fuel. Fuel expenses for refugees/UNHRC are reduced and the by product, the biogas slurry, is a highly valued organic fertilizer which increases agricult. prod.

How has it been implemented and what impact it had

Up to now about 250 biogas systems and 1000 biogas backpacks have been sold to local distributors and customers in more than 15 countries. In 2013 the technology was successfully piloted in 2 refugee camps in Ethiopia (Assosa and Gambella) with cow dung and human waste. Waste and energy expenses, ease of cooking and trade with neighbors was positively impacted. However, these pilots did not include everyone in the camp nor the host communities, which created jealousy within the camps.

Our Skills and Experience

(B)energy provides technology, know-how and a business model for local partners that includes importers of the technology as well as independent installers, who are typically located in the country side. In the respective host communities (B)energy would offer training to young practical people who are interested in starting their own small business in installing and servicing biogas systems. They then train their customers in how to produce, use and sell biogas. Some parts could be locally prod