How Sistema is promoting biogas as cheap source of energy in East Africa

The adoption of simple technologies to produce clean, alternative and easily accessible renewable energy from biomass is changing many communities livelihoods.

George Kariuki, a dairy farmer in Karatina town, Kiambu County demonstrates that biogas technology can produce clean energy from cow dung. He says his cost of farming has reduced significantly.
“Sistema biogas system is more efficient and produces more gas, enough for my household and organic fertilizer for my coffee farm. I therefore appreciate the quick customer service that Sistema offers,” says Kariuki.
Kariuki is  one of the community members using the Sistema Biobolsa, a company that constructs biogas digesters to generate energy within East Africa by supplying Hybrid Reactor bio digesters to rural communities.

Biogas is an energy product derived from organic material such as animal dung, that is decomposed in the absence of oxygen, thereby making a mixture that is mainly made up of methane (gas). The gas can be used directly for cooking and lighting or for generating electricity.

Global Commercial Director of Sistema Mr. Cedric Todwell says “Our product comes with a 10 year warranty and we offer after sale services. For example after installation we visit a farmer after 30 days, second visit after 90 days and third visit after 120 days to ensure the system is working well for the benefit of the client.”
He also says they have teamed up with other partners to promote the use of biogas and organic fertilizer in Kenya and the entire East Africa region.
Currently, they have employed 60 people to serve as distributors, technicians, and marketers of the Hybrid Reactor biodigesters in different parts of Kenya.
Sistema technology is in line with the Government of Kenya’s agenda in considering various ways of reducing dependency on charcoal, firewood, and kerosene by increasing access to modern energy services using renewable energy sources, especially in rural areas.
Sistema also distributes free avocado seedlings to farmers, as well as encouraging them to practice organic farming and on the need to conserve forests.
The initiative goes a long way in achieving the Sustainable Development goals of Poverty Reduction, Energy access, Gender Equality, Food Security, and Sanitation.
The biodigesters include a anaerobic reactor, inlet of 200L, fertilizer outlet and storage, cook stove, 35 meters gas line, H2S filter, pressure relief valve, two water tramps, and protective geotextile. A user is only required to pay 20 percent of the total amount for the biodigester to be installed and balance paid in installments for 12 months with no interest charged.
“Most farmers have realized the need for producing organic foods that come with health benefits and with the new hybrid reactor digester system a farmer gets cooking gas and residue used on farms as organic fertilizer,” Todwell says.
On the other hand, the Kenya biogas program, a government agency has been supporting the company through the SNV program that offers farmers a subsidy of Ksh 9000 per unit.
Todwell, says their major challenge is the slow clearance of the containers at the port “Which takes sometimes 8 weeks hence the burden of storage charges at the port warehouse.”