Is waste management the solution for decentralized production of energy?

Decentralization of the energy production

Since the dawn of civilization, two factors have been crucial for the development of prospered communities: food and energy. In many developing countries, access to the electric grid can still be limited in isolated areas where agriculture is often the main activity. In these regions, agriculture not only provides food but also meets the household requirement for energy with firewood, coal or manure. However, most of the developing countries have a centralized energy production system with an electric grid concentrated in the bigger cities and regions while the people and communities living in the areas where access to electricity and energy isn’t as good have to develop their own system. As we said previously, coal, wood and fuel systems are the most wide-spread device for cooking or power production in farming and agricultural regions but these systems can cause many issues in terms of resources depletion (deforestation, use of water suitable for drinking…), climate changes and health (coal and fuel systems can be harmful by the production of smoke, carbon monoxide, dust…). In this context,decentralization of the energy production should be promoted to help provide access to clean and sustainable energy through domestic biogas production, solar and wind energy.

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Finally, while access to water suitable for drinking can be very expensive in some regions, this resource is used in many countries to flush human manure. Instead of wasting water that could be used for domestic and agricultural purposes, human and animal manure could be collected as well as domestic and agricultural wastes for the production of biogas in a digester which would also provide a product named bio-slurry with valuable fertilizing properties.

These decentralized system of energy production could help develop the economy of these isolated areas while having benefic impacts on both environment and society.


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The instauration of these kind of systems would have many benefic impacts for the local communities and their environment. First of all, biogas production offers an alternative to coal and firewood which leads toresource depletion and can sometimes lead to an unsustainable situation where the firewood demand is higher than its production. Secondly, the use of biogas would also lead to the reduction of Green Houses Gases emissions.

This project would also have an impact of the local and social life by improving the quality of life and provide a reliable and efficient source of energy which could enable the installation of lightening systems in each house allowing students to work later and in better conditions. Furthermore, the use of manure and wastes as a raw material could be a solution to sanitary issues occurring in areas where waste management is not optimal by stocking the garbage and reducing the pathogen content in organic materials.

In terms of economic impacts, this project could help to reduce the households’ energy expense related to firewood or coal and also resulting in higher incomes related to agriculture for farmers thanks to the bio-slurry used as fertilizer. But the installation of HPS would not only have benefic economic impacts for the beneficiaries but also for the whole community and region. Indeed, the installation of biogas plant and HPS can help stimulate the national economy if this decentralized energy production is spread in the country by creating jobs in different sectors, new market and wastes management.

Conclusion

The use of domestic and agricultural wastes for biogas production combined with other renewables sources of energy for decentralization of energy production can have a significant impact and contribution on sustainable development in developing countries. Technologies and projects about domestic biogas are not new and it means that significant progress have already been made in the past which allows newer projects to rely on these to improve their performances and propose more efficient and reliable solutions by combining different power supplies technologies. Different combinations and alternatives can be proposedaccording to each community or region and their environment and main activities. The local populations could and should be consulted and involved in these kind of projects in order to optimize its functioning and offer a suited infrastructure. This project is not only about the energetic issues and aspects in these isolated regions but also considers health, development and employment for all these reasons it could be interesting to develop this idea in various areas.

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