Georgetown. 2014: Biogas is a gas produced by the breakdown or decomposition of organic waste in the absence of oxygen and comprises a mixture of gases, mainly carbon dioxide and methane.  Biogas can be used as an alternative energy source instead of firewood and fossil fuels.

There are many raw materials (organic materials) from which biogas can be extracted, for example, animal manure, leaves, twigs, grasses and garbage among others. Biogas production from animal waste provides a unique opportunity to mitigate the effects of waste produced on farms while providing a cheap and sustainable source of energy.

To facilitate the production of biogas a structure referred to as a bio-digester unit (BDU) is used. A bio-digester aids in the decomposition of organic materials, such as those listed above, to produce methane gas (biogas) that can be used for cooking, heating, lighting (using gas lamps), electricity generation, operation of farm machinery and other energy needs. A bio-digester unit is a clean, healthy and economic alternative since it not only provides fuel for domestic household use but also provides liquid and solid fertilizers that can be used in farming. This in turn aids in reducing the amount of chemical contaminants (in organic fertilizer) that affects human health and the environment.

The Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) has been monitoring and supporting the installation of bio-digesters.  At present there are approximately thirty (30) bio-digesters installed in Guyana that use organic materials to produce biogas.  GEA encourages livestock farmers (cattle, pig, etc.) to take advantage of this technology and cash in on potential savings. The production of methane gas will help to conserve on imported energy sources (fossil fuels) thereby allowing for savings on energy bills and a positive contribution to the environment.

The Guyana Energy Agency will offer free technical advice and support to interested farmers once contacted. Additionally, information can be obtained from the Bio-digester Information and Construction Manual for Small Farmers Click here to download manual  .