This biogas development practice strongly combines climate change mitigation and livelihoods improvement. Working with Indonesia Domestic Biogas Program/IDBP (www.biru) since mid 2011, the project has constructed 155 units of biogas digesters up to now with various sizes from 4m3 to 12m3. Employing fixed dome model, it does not simply construct biogas digesters but also provides trainings and maintenance service to guarantee long term use. Targeting smallholder farmers who mostly still apply free grazing, biogas is still considered costly and inefficient in maintenance. To build the smallest size biogas digester, at least $800 is needed while daily feeding is difficult to do for those practicing free grazing. Targeting primarily low income families, the practice promotes biogas not only as domestic energy but also as new income source or cost reduction source. Biogas is utilized to reduce expenses on domestic energy at least 80% for cooking and at least 10% for lighting. Furthermore, biogas’ byproduct (bioslurry) is utilized to reduce farming cost on chemicals. Not only saving money, will bioslurry generate new income source once processed to be foliar fertilizer, compost, and earthworm rearing media. Up to now, four organic fertilizer processing facilities have been facilitated while a pilot of earthworm rearing contract has been piloted. The economic promotion approach is meant to make biogas investment more feasible and more affordable. It’s also to ensure continuous feeding and maintenance. Utilization both biogas and bioslurry also contributes on Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emission on energy sector and agriculture sector. In addition to environmental and economic benefits, the practice also serves social impact where more jobs are generated and social conflicts due to cow dung and free grazing are reduced.
Objectives and beneficiaries
The overall motivation to start this practice was to improve smallholder farmers’ livelihoods by utilizing the commonly abandoned or wasted resources to be renewable energy and new income sources or businesses. Meanwhile, target beneficiaries are smallholder farmers raising 2 - 12 cows in South Sulawesi province, Indonesia. Living in poverty, they mostly practice un-environmentally-friendly farming like free grazing and waste burning which severely contributes to Greenhouse Gasses (GHG) emission.
Objectives of the practice:
(a) To improve environmental condition
- Mitigating GHG emission by reducing application of chemical fertilizers, promoting biogas as clean energy, and utilizing the commonly-abandoned farming wastes.
- Utilizing renewable energy (biogas) for domestic energy – cooking and lighting.
- Applying more environmentally-friendly farming practices by using self-produced (vermi) compost and foliar fertilizers.
- Improving sanitation due to better waste management. Biogas digester functions as septic tank for cow dung thus minimizing bad odour in the neighbourhood and the outbreak of insect generated diseases since cow dung attracts such insects.
- Reducing tree cutting as users covert from firewood to biogas for cooking.
- Reducing air pollution from smoke due to cooking.
- Reducing free grazing practice as biogas inducing cow housing.
(b) To improve smallholder farmers livelihoods
- Saving money for domestic energy, at least 80% for cooking and at least 10% for lighting.
- Saving money for fertilizer to apply at farmers’ own farm, at least 20%.
- Generating extra income from biogas related agribusiness like compost, foliar fertilizer, and earthworm rearing.
- Obtaining better income as bioslurry (biogas’ by-product commonly utilized to be foliar fertilizer and compost) improves farm productivity 5% – 10%.
- Generating employment through biogas and biogas related agribusinesses.
(c) To reduce social conflict due to free grazing as biogas inducing cow housing and diminishing bad odour to the neighbourhood.
(d) To create employment
- Generate jobs from biogas construction where practice has trained 24 masons and 4 supervisors.
- Generate jobs from biogas appliances where one small warehouse has produced various kinds of biogas appliances.
Strong points of the practice
Targeting primarily low income families or smallholder farmers, this practice strongly combines economic and environmental missions for climate change mitigation. Biogas, under this practice, has 3 functions – digester, septic tank, and organic fertilizer production facility. As digester it produces clean energy for cooking and lighting while as septic tank it improves environmental condition against cow dung generated pollution. Meanwhile, as organic fertilizer production facility, biogas produces bioslurry to formulate to be compost and foliar fertilizer. The bioslurry which is biogas’ by-product is potential to apply at farmers’ own land and/or to sell to generate extra income. Bioslurry is even potential to utilize further for earthworm rearing media (which has been piloted by the practice), seed pelleting, soil conditioning, fish culture, animal feed, mushroom cultivation and algal production. Although the technology is not new, the most innovative aspect of the practice is its approach to promote the economic potential of biogas. The economic benefits approach will make construction investment and funding more feasible thus making the renewable energy deployment more dynamic which is also the strong point of the practice.
Not simply constructing, the practice also ensures that the built digesters are continuously utilized by training the users on maintenance and formulation of bioslurry to be compost, foliar fertilizer, and organic pesticides. The practice also provides guarantees, three years for the digesters and one year for biogas appliances. Furthermore, RGS supervisors are also obliged to visit the constructed digesters on month 9th and month 18th. The training and guarantee are other strong points of the practice distinguishing it with other biogas practices in the province. Related to IDBP which is our partner, the innovative aspect is to build capacity of its partners to produce and assemble biogas appliances. Appliances like manometer, mixer, water drain, and main gas pipe are locally made to make it cheaper and more available.
Expected results and benefits for climate change adaptation and mitigation
Having built 115 units of biogas and targeting to construct 100,000 units in the long run, this practice mitigates climate change on both agriculture sector and energy sector. The following are mitigation results, benefits, and calculation:
a. Mitigation on agriculture. Agriculture is part of the climate change problem, contributing about 13.5 percent of annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (with forestry contributing an additional 19 percent). Agriculture is, however, also part of the solution, offering promising opportunities for mitigating GHG emissions through carbon sequestration, soil and land use management, and biomass production. For mitigation, this practice works on livestock waste (cow dung) management, chemicals reduction, tree cutting reduction, and farming waste burning reduction.
- Reduce animal waste (cow dung). Typically, a cow produces about 22 kilograms cow dung per day which is able to supply 1 m3 biogas. Considering the smallest size biogas (4m3) requiring 4 cows, the practice has reduced 22 kilograms x 460 cows = 10.12 tons per day at least. Meanwhile, the expected result is 22 kilograms x 400,000 cows = 8,800 tons per day at least.
- Reduce chemicals. Biogas produces high quality organic fertilizers both in liquid and solid forms. In the first year, practice targets to reduce 20% of its users’ chemicals at their own farm. A few users have quit using chemicals at all now.
- Reduce farming waste burning. A study of Ministry of Agriculture of Republic Indonesia in 2005 found that farming wastes contribute 7,932 million ton CO2e. This practice contributes to the mitigation by utilizing the farming waste to be organic fertilizers together with bioslurry.
- Reduce tree cutting. Living in poverty, most target beneficiaries still rely on locally-collected firewood and subsidized 3 kg Liquid Petroleum Gasses (LPG). The practice reduces tree cutting from farms, forest, and mangroves.
- Another indirect contribution of biogas to GHG emission is promotion of cow housing. Commonly practicing free grazing, farmers tend to put their cows in stables once having biogas digester thus making livestock drink and feed more efficient.
b. Mitigation on energy
- Reduce non renewable energy application as users covert from fossil fuels to biogas for cooking and lighting. Following the calculation of Gold Standard which is a partner of IDBP Program on carbon trading scheme, biogas’ GHG mitigation for carbon dioxide and methane is 3 –3.2 tons/m3. Since practice has constructed 115 units of biogas with total volume 556 m3, the total quantity of annual GHG reduction potential of this practice is 3–3.2 tons/m3 x 556 m3 = 1,668-1,779.2 tons. Meanwhile, targeting 100,000 units in the long run with minimum size 4m3, the practice annually is able to reduce GHG 3–3.2 tons/m3 x 400,000 m3 = 1,200,000-1,320,000 tons/m3. This amount counts the benefits of biogas both on energy and agriculture.
Replicability potential of the practice
The model is highly potential to replicate to other regions or other developing countries since the renewable energy model developed is domestic biogas model (one digester for one till five families only) targeting smallholder farmers, not communal biogas model. Most farmers in Indonesia are smallholders with average land ownership less than 0.5 hectares who are difficult to improve their livelihoods with such limited resources owned. This kind of farmer is potential to adopt and replicate the domestic biogas technology subject to the availability of good approach and intervention. Economic promotion approach will increase the model adoption and replication since it will make the initial investment more affordable, feasible and interesting.
Culturally loving to raise cows, Indonesian farmers enjoy the good price of the commodity where cow is considered a saving which can provide quick cash when needed. At national level, the government of Indonesia is now implementing program for beef self-sufficiency targeting to have 14.2 million cattle in 2014 which indicates potential to build millions of biogas while at provincial level according to livestock census 2011 there were 938,985 cattle raised. Considering that 3–4 cattle are needed to supply a unit of biogas, hundred thousands of biogas digesters is potential to construct in South Sulawesi province. On the other hand, the earthworm rearing agribusiness is relatively easy to do subject to the availability of feed while land (space) required is minimum. Therefore, at national, provincial, and local markets, the market opportunity for biogas provision and earthworm rearing agribusiness is big to exploit with only few players in the business. However, considering other types of animal wastes like poultry manure, buffalo dung, pig excreta, even human excreta are also potential to generate biogas, and the model replication potential is even bigger.