Biogas Technology: Critical factors influencing its choice and adoption among peri-urban residents

Introduction

The year 2012 was declared the year of sustainable energy for all by the United Nations in recognition of the importance of energy for sustainable development (UNEP, 2012). This recognition presents an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of increasing sustainable access to energy, energy efficiency, and renewable energy at the local, regional and international levels.

Energy is central to everything that we do, from powering our economies to empowering women, from creating job opportunities to improving security (Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General, 2012). Provision of adequate, affordable, reliable and efficient energy lies at the heart of every country’s core interests.

Now more than ever, the world needs to ensure benefits of sustainable modern energy is available to all. Energy poverty is a threat to the realization of the Millennium Development goals (MDGs). The World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in the Johannesburg Plan of implementation made a call for the International community to take joint action and improve efforts to work together at all levels to improve access to energy services for sustainable development sufficient to facilitate the achievements of MDGs (ESMAP, 2002a).Promotion of modern energies should be an integral part of all government policies. Wider access to energy services is not only essential in achieving Vision 2030, but also in achieving all the MDGs (Modi, 2006).

Worldwide, more than two billion of the population lack access to clean and safe fuel thus rely on traditional biomass burning such as fuel wood, crop residues and cow dung (UNDP, 2000).Such fuels are used mostly in rural areas, though wood is also used as fuel by the urban poor (World Bank, 1996).Statistics show that nearly 2.4 billion people rely primarily on traditional biomass fuels for cooking and nearly 1.6 billion have no access to electricity network Worldwide. The World is hungry to global challenges and recognition of modern energies that are CFC-free provides multiple opportunities to enhance equity, revitalization of the global economy and helps to protect the ecosystems that sustain the World.

Unsustainable use of fuel wood has detrimental effects on the environment, productivity and human health (Mwakubo et al., 2007).The use of inefficient and unsustainable energy sources leads to environmental degradation through deforestation of forests and woodlands, reduced agricultural productivity due to erosion and imbalanced rainfall regimes, and respiratory disorders due to smoke inhalation (World Bank,2006).Indoor air contaminated with particulates, carbon monoxide and formaldehyde has been ranked the forth course for premature deaths in the developing countries (Bruce,2000). About 1.6 million women and children die each year from exposure to indoor pollution (IEA, 2006), as they spend much of their time indoors in houses with limited ventilation.

Developing countries have used fuel wood as the major source of energy over history and still the primary source of fuel for nearly half of the world population (Enger, 2006).Wood fuel is becoming scarce. People in the developing countries are in daily struggle to find enough fuel to warm their homes and cook their food (Cunningham et al. 2007).Shortage of fuel wood encompassing firewood and charcoal, imposes heavy costs on urban and rural consumers alike (Wawa, 2012). Women in particular, are the major victims of the domestic energy crisis.

In most developing countries of the world, energy is dominated by traditional biomass of firewood, charcoal and agricultural waste, a bulk of which is used in rural households and small businesses. The country is also dependent on hydro-power whose potential has dramatically reduced in the past 20 years due to the destruction of water catchment areas, yet the country’s demand has grown as high as supply leaving a reserve margin of about 7% (MoE, 2011). Day (2010), postulated of having an energy gap of 23% in the 2015.Though the approximation seems higher, it is not very far from reality. There‘s therefore an urgent need to look for alternative sources of energy which are sustainable and affordable to the majority who are mostly in rural and urban areas.

With the impacts of climate change, the situation is likely to worsen. This is because the country experiences prolonged drought and flooding that fluctuates the water levels and therefore the hydro power production potential. In order to address such challenges, the response strategy has given a lot of emphasis on Green Energy options, which are sources of energy with zero or low levels of greenhouse emissions. Such energy sources include hydroelectric power generation, geothermal, wind, solar and renewable biomass sources.

It is believed that the biogas technology would benefit the societies by providing alternative clean fuel in form renewable biomass, biodegradable municipal and industrial wastes and help end energy poverty in rural and urban setting ( Parawira, 2009). Nes and Nhete, (2007) advocate that biogas technology is an excellent tool for improving life, livelihoods and health in the developing world and that it is a service that is broader than just energy supply. It uplifts the dignity of women and improves their health and the hygienic conditions of families.

Biogas will be viable when the prospective acceptor is driven to the necessity of encountering physical limit to the amount of fuel available from the traditional sources. The benefits of biogas technology mean that it can contribute to integrated development. However, if the technology is to play a more extensive role in Sustainable development then solutions to the dissemination problems have to be found (Hulscheret al.1994).

Level of Energy Shortage awareness and use of biogas technology

The World nations are aware of the creeping energy and environmental crisis. The mark of the year 2012 as the year of sustainable energy for all by the United Nations and the recognition of the importance of energy in sustainable development shows recognition of the World nations awareness of the creeping energy crisis and the implications of using inefficient energy technologies if measures are not put in place to counteract the predicted situation (UNEP, 2012).The states further recognized the environmental, social and health implications of using traditional fuels and further echoed the need for governments to raise an awareness about the importance of increasing sustainable access to energy, energy efficiency, and renewable energy at the local, national and international levels (EASWN,2012 and ESMAP,2002a).

Sufficient energy is supply is needed to improve the living conditions to allow more time for education, improved health services and production and eventually allow establishment of small businesses. Sustainable and efficient supply of energy is essential in the realization of all Millennium Development Goals( Modi,2006).This awareness has influenced the governments take initiatives to provide renewable energies that are cheap and invest more on the energy sector.

East Africa is facing growing energy demands alongside rising levels of fossil fuel consumption coupled by acerbated cost. Together with the growing urban populations and deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions are increasing, hats why there is need for renewable energies (UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,2012).For many years there have been predictions that energy supplies particularly fossil fuels would run out and cause recessions from which the world would not recover. Production of oil, gas and coal would not be available to keep indefinitely the growing global demand, (Day, 2010).According to Day, at some stage there must be a supply gap. Recent reports as quoted by Day, estimated that there will be a gap of 15% of energy supply by 2010 rising to 23% in 2015 and 32% in 2020.

He further comments that as the World fields decline, the prices will rise as it was evident in the year 2008 where prices rose from 100 US dollars to 139 US dollars per barrel against a long term trend of fewer than 50 dollars. What this data indicates is that there is an increasing energy supply gap caused by diminishing supply of non-renewable energy sources hence demand for alternative renewable energies to fill the gap.

In developed countries, energy for cooking, heating and lighting is readily available at a relatively low cost. This is due to the fact that being aware of the energy predicted energy shortages, they have invested in both the centralized sources and extensive distribution systems to make the energy available to the citizens and business (Wawa, 2012).On the other hand, developing countries, processing and cooking food is accomplished mainly by biomass energy where women spend significant part of their time during the day gathering fuel wood and are exposed to harmful smoke and other by-products of burning organic material (English Articles, 2010).

Biogas technology awareness

A technology is people using knowledge, tools, and systems to make their lives easier and better. Biogas technology is therefore, a complete system in itself; it includes cost effective production of energy and fertilizer for soil (Wawa, 2012).Awareness of a technology entails mastery of operation, use maintenance, use and its implications. Biogas technology awareness dates 1957 when it was built by Mr Tim Hutchson who introduced the floating dome technology. Gunnerson and Stuckey (1989) identify about seven types of biogas plants or digesters, but the market is aware of three technologies; the floating dome, the fixed dome and the plastic tubular technologies.

a. Fixed-dome (Chinese design)

Fixed dome design, according to Gunnerson and Stuckey (1989) is the most common digester type in developing countries. It was introduced to Kenya through Tanzania. The digester type consists of a gas tight tank constructed of bricks (Fig 1.0 a) stone or poured concrete. Both the top and the bottom of the reactor are hemispherical and joined together by straight sides. The inner surface is sealed by thin layers of mortar to make it gas tight. At the top of the digester there is a manhole plug to facilitate entrance during cleaning, and the gas outlet pipe exits from the manhole cover. Biogas plants can be of various sizes ranging from 2m3 for a single family of 5 people, to 140m3 for a community. The plant is normally divided into three parts: digester, inlet and outlet slurry pits, and gas holder.

Related Topic  Safeguarding Lake Ol Bolossat, Nyandarwa County by exploring the possibility of Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) Scheme

b. Floating Dome Technology (Indian design or KVIC model)

The technology is extensively used in the world. A typical design consists of a reactor wall and bottom. Usually constructed of bricks reinforced with concrete, a concrete pit partly sunk into the ground, and an inverted dome made mainly of steel floated in the liquid in the digester. This acts as a container within which the gas can collect. The gas produced in the digester is trapped under a floating metal dome which is the key feature of this technology. As the gas accumulates the dome rises up indicating a rise in the amount of gas. When the gas is used up the dome sinks. This provides a useful visual indicator of the available gas volume for use in the households.

Several models of this technology have been made of which most of them were designed and fabricated by Tim Hutchison Tunnel Technologies Ltd. And later the GTZ and the Special energy programme. Floating drum digesters need cleaning, painting fixation of leaks as maintenance. In addition, household appliances may need regular maintenance due to corrosion. Depending on the construction materials, management and maintenance, the lifespan of such digesters vary from 30- Over 40 years providing services in lighting, fertilizer and cooking gas.

c. Tubular plastic design technology

In the early 1980s tubular plastic design plant was developed in Columbia and later disseminated to Vietnam. In mid 1990s the design was introduced to Tanzania by a group of scientists from Sokoine University of Agriculture who visited Vietnam and on their return they collaborated with farmers and improved the design to fit the Tanzanian condition (Gunnerson and Stuckey, 1989).

According to Gunnerson and Stuckey (1989), tubular plastic digester consist of a long cylinder made of PVC, a Neoprene coated nylon fabric. The digester is placed in a trench and filled with water to expel air before dung is introduced. Depending on the temperature, it may take two weeks before gas is produced. Materials for a biogas plant are locally available and when all materials are delivered to the site it takes between 3 to 4 hours to set up the plant.

A Plastic manufacturing company ventured in plastic tubular digester manufacture in 2006.The major drawback of the tubular plastic bio-digester is its limited durability due to its delicacy. However, the company, Pioneer Technologies has improved on it to make it UV treated, pressure resistant with larger accommodating volumes between 9m3 and 18m3.  To achieve clean, convenient and affordable household use of fuel, and reap the full range of socio-economic benefits of biogas technology, there is need for multi-pronged approach from all actors (SNV,2009).Biogas technology awareness is promoted by the government, the non-government organizations and agencies.

Determinants of household fuel choice and adoption

It has been found that as household’s income increases, households not only increase their consumption of their fuel choice, but they also use multiple fuels. Most empirical studies have found contradicting results for this. In Ethiopia for instance, the income effect dominates so that households consume more of all energy sources as budgets grow (Kabede et al., 2002).

Barnes and Quian ( 1992 ),using the actual survey of Urban household energy consumption in developing countries, found that as income increases wood fuel does not disappear completely as households continue to increase its use thus reflecting the utility of these fuels in urban households. Increasing levels of income tends to result in decrease in the share of biomass in total energy consumption (Wayuan et al., 2008).

The World Bank explains using the Guatamala household survey to explain the relationship between household size and fuel use. Using the logit and multinomial logit regressions, the results found a positive relationship (World Bank 2003 ). Meconnen and Kohlin found similar results in Ethiopia where households with more members were more likely to use charcoal and firewood and less likely to use kerosene.  Pundo and Freser( 2003 ) analyzed the data from Kisumu, Kenya using multi-nomial logit model and they found that the level of education improves knowledge of fuel attributes, tastes and preferences for better fuels. Opportunity cost of time becomes an aspect of concern with regard to household participation on various activities. According to them, a highly educated woman is likely to lack time to collect firewood and may opt for firewood alternatives. Wayuan et al.(2003) explains that when resident’s education level is higher, they use less biomass or more commercial fuels because the opportunity cost of biomass collection is increasing.

Several studies attest to the fact that household age is a key in making decisions on household energy choices. Pundo and Freser( 2003 ) note that a woman’s age influences fuel choice through loyalty to firewood so that the older the woman(when all factors are held constant),the more likely the household will continue using firewood. This has been found to be true by Mekonnen and Kohlin (2008) in Ethiopia. They demonstrated that older household heads prefer the use of solid fuels while non-solid fuels are more likely to be adopted by the younger household heads.

Preference of a given type of fuel is another factor. This preference can be associated with a stronger attachment to indigenous culture and traditional cooking. Attitude of people influences the choice of household fuel in that some people believe that some fuels are faster than the others which is true of course, some fuels such as the food cooked using charcoal has a tasty flavor (Israel, 2002) and that some fuels are dirty to use and have low efficiency.

The type of dwelling unit and the house ownership has been identified by Pandu and Fraser (2003) to be another important factor affecting household fuel switch. They argue that if a household owns the main dwelling unit, it is more likely to use occupancy rules. If a dwelling unit is a permanent house, the household is likely to use firewood alternatives that do not stain the walls and the roofs of the unit.

In most empirical studies accessibility to electricity as one of the factors has been omitted. The World Bank (2003) found out that for the households that were connected to electricity grid tended to use less wood fuel. These studies also explain that electricity access triggers fuel use to LPG and adoption of cleaner energies such as solar and biogas. They further argue that access to electricity is associated with a higher probability of using LPG and a lesser likelihood of firewood usage.

Results from Albebaw (2007) show that housing expenditure is higher for those who are non-home owners and this limits households from switching to cleaner fuels as hypothesized by the energy ladder model. Housing expenditure is one of the components of consumer expenditure.

Comparative efficiency of household fuels

a. Efficiency of heating stoves

Cooking stoves operate with a variety of fuels, such as solids, liquid, gaseous and other fuels. Animal dung, agricultural residues, wood, charcoal, sawdust, biomass briquette are considered as solid fuels( Lai and Sup,1998).Kerosene, alcohol and other hydrocarbons are termed as liquid fuels .LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas)natural gas. biogas etc. could be considered as gaseous fuel (ibid). Efficiency of a stove could be categorized as burning efficiency and overall efficiency. Burning efficiency of a stove accounts for the capacity of that stove in terms of combustion of fuel. In other words ability of the stove to change the energy from fuel to heat energy is related with burning efficiency,(Mukunda,1998) The ability of the stove to change the energy from fuel into the energy gained by the specimen such as water, rice, milk etc. is termed as overall efficiency of the stove (ibid.)

Generally the efficiency of a stove is indicated by the overall efficiency. Household energy provision through the use of various fuels has both health, environmental and socio-economic implications. Studies on combustion efficiency show that biogas has the highest nominal overall efficiency

Table: Efficiency of Small-Scale Combustion Devices based on greenhouse emissions in developing countries

Type of stove Nominal combustion efficiency % Overall efficiency%
Biogas 99.4 57.4
LPG 97.7 53.6
Kerosene 96.5 49.5
Wood 90.1 22.8

The results are consistent with the findings of Red et al (1998) who also found the efficieny of the kerosene stove as 35-50%, that of wood stove 10-25%, electric stove 75-85% and that of a charcoal stove 20-35%. Combustion efficiency of a stove and the calorific value of a given fuel give the amount of pollutants emitted by fuel and the impacts it may have on the users‘ health.

Prof. H. S. Mukunda (1998) and the Regional Energy Development Programme (RWEDP) mention the calorific values of different fuels in their publications ”Understanding Combustion” and ”Energy and Environment Basics respectively as in table below:

Fuel Density (kg/nr Calorific value (RWEDP)

(MJ/kg)

Calorific value(Mukunda)

(MJ/kg)

LPG 560 45.5 44
Kerosene 806 43.1 42
Biogas varies 24.28 32-36
Coal N.A 29.3  

Role of Stakeholder Participation in Biogas Promotion

The World economies common goal is the strife to achieve green economy. This requires decision makers, civil society, the private sector and development organizations to reconsider the approaches for introducing environmental sound technologies (EST) Worldwide. The introduction of EST has traditionally occurred through government or donor financed technology transfers (UN,2005).However, technology transfers have been misunderstood as one-time transactions between active donor and passive receiver who has the perceptive that neglects the pivotal importance of the recipient country‘s obligation to adopt, absorb and improve new technologies to the local context(Mathews,1995,IPCC,2000).

Studies have shown that the private sector represents 90% of all technology transfer while the role of the government is pronounced when technologies are not commercially viable from the outset (UN,2005).Rodrik (2004) argues that for national industry policies to address the actual demand for products and services the information is often at the national governments‘ reach unless they exploit local knowledge of private companies and civil society, hence the ability of achieving sustainable results from a technology transfer on a sectoral level depends on the embeddedness of multiple cooperating agencies. According to Flyvbjerg (2006),the SNV case is a paradigmatic case, as it confirms the common support in development cooperation to local ownership, sector-wide and program-based approaches, capacity development, multi-stakeholder participation for sustainable outcomes and importance of competitive private sector.

Stakeholders Promoting Biogas technology

a. Banking and Microfinance Institutions

There are more than seven banking institutions in the region and several MFIs which provide loan facilities to the farmers at an interest. MFIs advice farmers to take loans for biogas projects. For instance Equity bank has a lending program by the name Jamii Safi Loan for promoting projects that increase sanitation, among which biogas technology is included.

b. Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries

The ministry provides for technical extension services to the farmers who own biogas technologies. In their visits to farms they encourage them to adapt technologies that are profitable and encourage rearing of livestock in Zero-grazing units, thus promoting biogas technology. The ministry is also involved in organizing for agricultural shows where biogas technology trainings and demonstrations are done to embrace the technology. Through special programmes and association with agencies such as NALEP have promoted the technology in the area.

c. GTZ/GIZ

This is a Germany organ involved in promoting biogas. The organization has been at the fore line in helping farmers practicing dairy farming to construct biogas plants in the area and providing relevant extension advice. The organization has been known to provide training to local artisans on the construction of fixed dome technology design and financing biogas projects through subsidy.

d. SNV

These are managers with HIVOs in KENDBIP programme that ended in December 2013 where KENFAP is the implementing agency. The body gives advisory services to KENFAP,and other partners promoting biogas at all levels, supports the development of biogas office, and offers special training and experience sharing.

e. European Union

This is one of the donors in the promotion of renewable energies through the European Union Energy Facility. Funds the biogas programme undertaken by GIZ.

f. HIVOs

This is a Dutch NGO not-for-profit organization inspired by humanist values. It started its access to the energy sector in 2005.The organ makes funds available for annual operational plans and budgets. The organization mobilizes resources to ensure additional funding for the programme and facilitates the design and development of systems and processes for accessing carbon financing. Further it is involves in management of funds in KENNDBIP Kisii.

g. Ministry of Energy

The ministry has the department of renewable energies. It has established demonstration farms for training farmers. In addition it has trained technicians who construct and maintain biogas plants as well as carrying out sensitization of clean technologies in the County. The ministry is responsible to avail technologies that are viable with the appliances and also financing civic education to promote these technologies.

h. Farmers and neighbours

Farmers are the core stakeholders who implement the biogas projects. Farmers need to be fully convinced so as to adopt the technology. From these farmers‘experience on biogas technology, neighbours take the initiative to adopt the technology

i. Private Sector

The private sector provides construction materials, finances biogas projects, offers training of technicians among other roles.Other institutions include CBOs such as St.Barbara Mosocho and the Mosocho Farmers CBO which play a role of sensitizing people to adopt biogas technology

Challenges in the Institutional Sector

The institutions have weak capacity to carry out their devolved functions due to inadequate information for planning and policy formulation and they are limited of both financial and human resource. Secondly, there are weak linkages between the institutions involved in development and promotion of biogas technology thus making it difficult in decision making.

Theoretical Frameworks for Technology Adoption

Technology adoption is a complex area of study that has been studied over time using several theories. Abkhzam and Lee ( 2010 ) mention several popular models used to investigate adoption behavior of an individual. Technology adoption frameworks are information systems that provide a theoretical foundation for examining the factors influencing technology adoption.

Since it is not easy to discuss them all, this study will focus on three theories: Energy Ladder model, the theory of Planned Behavior and the Diffusion of innovation as they seem to suitably fit the study.

a. Theory of Planned Behavior

The Theory of Planned Behavior was proposed by Icek Ajzen in 1985 and later improved on in 2006 .The content remains in spite of the additives( Ajzen,2006). The theory consists of three conceptual determinants of the adoption of a new technology, these include the attitude towards the technology, social factor termed as subjective norm,( which refers to the perceived social pressure on either to use or not to use the technology ) and facilitating conditions such as availability of government support and technology support. It is the assumption of this study that lack of institutional support on biogas technology has been a barrier to its widespread.

b. Energy Ladder Model and Energy Stack Model

Researchers have attempted to understand the dynamics in the household energy usage in relation to their income earn. The studies have always involved the Energy ladder model to examine the determinants of household decisions to substitute or to switch between available fuels ( Barnes and Floor.1996 ).

The theory postulates of a three-stair fuel switching process. The first stage is manifested by universal reliance on traditional biomass fuels such as firewood, animal waste and agricultural residues. The second stage, households move to ”transition” fuels such as kerosene, coal and charcoal in response to higher incomes and other factors such as deforestation and urbanization. In third phase, households switch to the use of LPG, natural gas or electricity. It is hypothesized that the major driver affecting the movement up the ladder is income and relative fuel prices (Barnes et al., 2005).The theological statement is an echo by Smith (1994) in his interpretation of the ‘traditional energy ladder’ that as families gain socio-economic status, they abandon technologies that are inefficient, less costly and more polluting, that is those in the lower energy ladder. Such as dung, fuel wood and charcoal.

An increase in available income allows them to leave these fuels behind and purchase technologies that are ”higher” in the ladder. These advanced technologies are usually non-efficient and costly, but require fewer inputs of labour and fuel, and produce fewer pollutants per unit fuel. Implicit in this theory is that it assumes that once incomes increase, the households discard the consumption of the traditional fuels and adopt modern clean fuels that they can afford thereby going contrary to the Energy Stack Model which states that. Households do not switch completely to a new fuel as income increases, but will continue using more than one fuel.

c. Diffusion of Innovation Theory

This theory was developed by Rodgers in 1995 and is the most widely recognized technological framework. The theory postulates three determinants of technological adoption to be the characteristics of an innovation, individual categories and communication channels. The characteristics that may influence adoption include the ease to use, cost-effectiveness, efficiency and convenience. The theory considers the categories of adopters as a determinant to technology adoption. Rogers (1995) categories the members of a social system into five adopter categories. These are innovators, early adapters, early majority, late majority and laggards. These categories follow a standard deviation curve. He explains that very few innovators adopt the innovation in the beginning, 2.5 per cent, early adopters making up to 13.5 per cent a short time later, the early majority 34 per cent, the late majority 34 per cent and after sometime the laggards make up for 16 per cent.

Innovators are ventures in a social system with ability to cope with high degree of uncertainty and play an important role in importing new ideas because they have financial resources and the ability to understand and apply complete technical knowledgeably adopters are more integrated to the social system than innovators and are said to speed up the diffusion process. Potential adopters seek advice from them since they find it necessary to make decisions innovation decisions (Lionbergin and Gwin,1991).Through interpersonal networks, the category reduces uncertainty of the new innovation by adopting it and then conveying a subjective evaluation of it ( Rogers,1995 ).

The early majority comprises of the members who adopt the technology after a good number has adopters interact frequently with peers but they seldom tale lead positions like the early adopters. The category links the early adopters with the late adopters by the diffusion process. Innovation decision period seems to be relatively longer for the innovators and early adopters. ( Feder et al.,1985 ).The late majority adopt the technology relatively late after a majority of the people in the society have adopted the technology. This adoption has been described to rely on economic necessity and peer group pressure (Rodgers, 1995).

Laggards are the last group in a social system to adopt innovations, according to Rogers (1995).These people possess no opinion leadership and are the most localized in their outlook. The individuals often make decisions in terms of what has been done in previous generations and interact primarily with others who also have certain traditional values. It can therefore be argued that laggards tend to be suspicious of innovations and change agents (Msuya, 1998).

The Diffusion of Innovation Theory further predicts that media as well as interpersonal contacts provide information and influence opinion and judgment. The information flows through networks. The nature of networks and the roles opinion leaders play in them determine the likelihood that the innovation will be adopted. Opinion leaders exert influence on audience behavior via their personal contact, but additional intermediaries called change agents and gate keepers are also included in the process of diffusion.

Conceptual Framework of the Study

In all fuel choice and fuel technology adoption theories, awareness forms the first phase of adoption. Before any technology is ingested, people would want to have information about this technology and associated benefits. Governments and non-governmental organizations play an important role in information dissemination. The information households have about various fuels influences their fuel choice.

Government institutions in particular can influence the adoption of biogas technology through policies, offering extension services, awareness creation campaigns, and through financial support. Special programmes on biogas technology, media channels and biogas beneficiaries form other crucial channels for its adoption both in the rural and urban setting.

These channels are expected to promote the technology through implementation of policies, projects, advertisements, demonstrations, motivation, and provision of technical support services. Being aware of the technology and its benefits, people develop a positive attitude towards the technology. For biogas technology, the benefits include cheap and efficient energy, saving time for firewood collection and engaging it in productive works, lighting the houses for student assignments.

In a wider context there would be reduced deforestation emanating from deforestation, waste handling mechanisms for all biodegradable wastes and improved crop productivity from the bio slurry which is an excellent fertilizer obtained as a by-product of the aerobic process.

After the awareness phase, potential adopters face a challenge in decision making on whether to adopt the technology or not (Simon,2006 ).This can be directly or indirectly be influenced by the channel information follows. For biogas, information dissemination is affected by socio-economic, technological and environmental factors.

Socio-economic factors such as education level, age, household size, gender, type of dwelling, main economic activity of the household, location of residence, distance from the fuel source determine an individual’s ability to access information, perception and knowledge which in turn influence one’s decision to adopt the fuel or not adopt (Osiolo, 2009).Consequently, these factors determine the ability of a household to install and operate the technology.

Potential adopters also look at environmental factors, that is, the problems that biogas technology intends to solve. This perception undermines the development efforts of the technology. Others factors related to the environment include accessibility to water and availability of feed-stocks. This facilitate efficacy of routine biogas maintenance activities. The study makes an assumption that the willingness of individual household to adopt biogas technology in addition influenced by these factors.

For technology to be adopted it is ought to be simple, reliable and compatible with the surrounding environment. In addition, its benefits should be apparently visible. Biogas installation potential is determined by household income. Outstanding workability performance could attract other potential adopters of biogas technology.

The synergy of the attitudes towards a technology, technological, institutional and environmental factors influence the individual household‘s willingness to invest in the technology resulting into adoption of biogas technology. It should be clear here that there‘s no factor that is independent, they are intertwined and the outcome is the influence on the technology adoption

Recommendations

  1. Introduce and promote less costly and with low capacity technologies such as the Plastic tubular design to encourage farmers who cannot afford and who have less livestock install biogas.
  2. Provide subsidized rates of interest on loans those who are willing to install such beneficial technologies in financial institutions.
  3. Establish efficient information flow and coordination channels to link actors promoting Biogas technology and the community.
  4. Local based technical and institution training centers need to be supported to provide capacitated personnel to provide efficient energy technology solutions in terms of services, appliances and practices.
  5. Apart from awareness creation and provision of technical extension services, the Central government should provide incentives through special programmes under line Ministries.
  6. Harmonize energy policies to uphold biogas technology as the best alternative green energy for the rural and urban residents.

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