A project in Rwanda is encouraging farmers to use a new technology known as 'FlexiBiogas' that generates methane gas from cow dung and transfers it into cooking fuel. Sharon Reiech reports.
In south-east Rwanda, Marie Goreti Twagirumukisa is collecting cow manure to power her home and her farm. She's using a new system called FlexiBiogas, which generates renewable energy from organic waste. It's quickly becoming a popular source of energy in rural African communities where electricity is in short supply. SOUNDBITE: Farmer Marie Goreti Twagirumukisa saying (Kinyarwanda) saying: "Since I received the FlexiBiogas, I use it to cook, I have lighting and I can buy groceries like some salt. I don't have to buy firewood or oil anymore. The money I save is used for other things." FlexiBiogas was developed in Kenya and includes a biodigester device made of industrial plastic sheets and pipes. After it's collected, manure is left to ferment for a few days in the system's plastic reservoir, where it releases methane gas that's sent through plastic pipes directly to the kitchen stove. The pilot project that gave Marie and her family the biogas system was funded by The International Fund for Agricultural Development. Renewable energy officer Jean De La Croix says it's an efficient green solution for areas that are off the grid. SOUNDBITE: Jean De La Croix, Renewable energy officer at International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) saying (English): "It is very easy, with just one cow and this Flexibiogas, which is easy to install, to repair and maintain, you get enough gas for cooking and the bioslurry which is a good fertilizer for your farm." The system costs about $500 (USD) to install. And in addition to powering her stove, the pilot program has also given Twagirumukisa a solar panel, which is helping brighten up this family's future.