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Biogas technology and integrated development
Practical Action
Even in remote areas, solid waste dumps have become a common sight.
Colombo municipal area produces about 750 metric tones daily and the figure
for the whole metropolitan area is about 1,000 – 1,100 MT/day. The
composition indicates that about 85% of the waste is organic and has moisture
content of about 60- 75%. These data have been largely determined for the
waste arising in the Colombo area.
Solid waste dump
sites are generally
located in areas
inhabited by the
poorer segment of
the society who
lacks access to
infrastructure to
maintain even the
minimum level of
hygiene. This
adverse situation
is further
aggravated by the
presence of
garbage dumps.
Households & others
Main emphasis of
the Practical
Action South Asia
Figure 1: Biomass energy consumption by sectors -1998 (at
primary energy level)
biogas project was
to develop and promote appropriate designs of biogas units that could address
the three areas discussed above in an integrated fashion.
Experience from Sri Lanka
Experience has shown that for the success of any rural oriented technology, it is
essential that it is appropriate to the social and economic conditions of the
country. As Sri Lanka is an agricultural country, biogas technology perfectly
blends with our culture and society. However, the success of promoting any
technology depends on careful planning, management, implementation, training
and monitoring.
The Practical Action South Asia study "Integrating Energy and Environmental
Management through Biogas – A Country Review" revealed many factors,
which have directly or indirectly resulted in the failure of biogas technology.
Although unconfirmed data suggests that there are nearly 5000 biogas units
constructed through out the country the above sample survey results indicate
that the functioning rate is as low as 28.5%. The success rate, i.e. including
plants which have been given up due to arrival of grid supply, remains at 33%.
Practical Action's biogas project was formulated in the light of the findings and
recommendations of this survey. The project also considered the issues
explained in the previous section and follows an integrated/multiple-use