remedy for the development- and technology-gap between industrialized and developing
countries. Following its launching in 1980, GTZ-GATE chose biogas technology as a focal
point of its activities. This resulted in a cross-sectoral scheme that has been accompanying
and supporting the development and dissemination of biogas technology in Latin America,
Asia and Africa.
Industrialized countries neither had sufficient experience nor appropriate technologies to
build on in developing countries. Rather, this experience was identified in India and China
and transmitted by a South-North-South transfer. The term ’appropriate technology’ seemed
justified by the fact that this technology was adapted to the respective local conditions during
a ’learning-with-developing-countries’ process.
A number of biogas dissemination programs involving German Technical Cooperation (GTZ)
were launched in Bolivia, Colombia, Nicaragua, the Caribbean (see Belize and Jamaica),
Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Morocco and Thailand. Initially, biogas and anaerobic technology
focused on small scale farmers. At a later stage, larger farms as well as waste treatment
issues increasingly became the focus of biogas technology.
These activities have resulted in a number of positive spin-off effects in the partner countries,
in Germany, Europe and international development cooperation. Like in other fields of
appropriate technology (AT) promotion, environmental protection, energy provision and the
support to private enterprise development are increasingly seen as inseparable elements of
sustainable (technology) development.
Today, the highest degree of market maturity can be found in the area of municipal sludge
treatment, industrial wastewater purification and treatment of agricultural wastes. The use of
the technology in municipal wastewater treatment is currently experiencing an upswing in
Asia (India in particular) and Latin America. Anaerobic treatment of municipal organic waste
is experiencing a boom in Northern Europe. Agricultural biogas plants in developing
countries are usually promoted on a large scale in connection with energy and environmental
issues, and are installed particularly where water pollution through liquid manure from
agriculture is most severe.
The increasing emission of greenhouse gases, increasing water consumption and water
pollution, declining soil fertility, unsatisfactory waste management and the growing rate of
deforestation must be seen as parts of the unsustainable resource use systems that prevail
worldwide. Biogas technology is one of the important hardware components in a chain of
measures to counteract the above problems. GATE/ISAT is committed to play a lead role in
networking and information exchange to ensure that the potential of biogas technology is
recognized and made optimal use of.