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Through the support of the Biogas Programme Nicaragua (PBN), farmers in ​​Matagalpa and Boaco recently inaugurated a medium-scale biogas system that will ensure access to electricity at Noel Flores' farm in the community of El Tabacal. The community is not connected to the power grid.

The 27-m3 bio-digester guarantees the production of 10.5 m3 biogas per day, supporting an electric generator of five kw for two hours a day. The electricity generated will ensure daily water for around 200 cows by pumping up to 8,000 liters from a distance of 200 meters and 25 meters high. It will also provide lighting for the farm through seven 40-watt fluorescent bulbs as well as up to four hours of gas for the two-burner stove on which food will be prepared. 

Mr. Noel Flores is very satisfied with his bio-digester as it provides him with multiple savings and benefits: "Now I have lighting on the farm while in this community there is no conventional energy network. Before, we had to use other means to be competitive."

Flores also mentioned that his other concern was water pumping. Previously, he used a gasoline engine that needed a lot of expensive fuel. Now, "I just turn on the biogas generator and in less than a minute we have water."

The bio-digester also generates 450 liters of biol for the pastures. Biol is an organic fertiliser that provides nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium etc) and  micronutrients (copper, zinc, manganese, magnesium etc) for the soil and plants.

In two years Flores will recover his bio-digester investment by saving on firewood, gasoline and chemical fertilisers. Plus, the health and environmental benefits will be huge.

The Biogas Programme Nicaragua (PBN) is being implemented by SNV Nicaragua in partnership with Hivos through a $6.2 million-fund from the Multilateral Investment Fund (FOMIN), the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), SNV, Hivos and local contributions. The PBN programme aims to provide clean energy through biogas for 3,000 small and medium agricultural businesses and rural households in the provinces of Boaco, Matagalpa, Chontales, Jinotega and Rio San Juan.

Up until now, around 1000 families have already adopted biogas systems. This will allow them to reduce firewood consumption, prevent respiratory diseases and improve the productivity of their farms by incorporating more eco-efficient production technologies. The programme provides rigorous quality control for the construction and the operation of the bio-digesters as well as training and technical assistance on the use of biogas and biol for domestic and productive purposes and good livestock production practices.

Expert

Judit Vanegas Ferrey

Advisor - Communications