Revisiting the Value of Agricultural Waste in Central America

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

SNV and VIOGAZ are jointly implementing an ECPA initiative on electricity generation from biogas. Energy savings derived from this technique is allowing coffee growers and swine farmers in Costa Rica and Honduras to increase profit margins by making significant energy savings in production processes. Additionally, anaerobic digestion offers the unique advantage of safely treating and disposing of agricultural and animal waste. In fact, the byproduct of a biodigestor is a nutrient-rich digestate that may be used or sold as fertilizer.

The ECPA initiative on electricity generation from biogas in Costa Rica and Honduras is reshaping the perception of clean energy and waste management by raising awareness about the enormous potential of the waste-to-energy model applied to agribusiness. SNV and VIOGAZ deployed four pilot projects in two swine farms and two coffee cooperatives to impart new knowledge on electricity generation from biogas. The pilot projects shed new light on this proven technique with advantages unknown to the beneficiaries of this ECPA initiative. In October 2013, the initiative was presented in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, at the VI Industrial Congress on efficient production of renewable energy and the Fifth meeting of the BioLac network focused on biogas entrepreneurship. The benefits deriving from this model impressed the public in attendance.

At these events, SNV and VIOGAZ showcased tangible examples of how biogas production effectively meets agro-industrial sector needs. Biogas offers an alternative to address the challenges of diversifying the energy matrix, providing energy services to areas that may be isolated from the grid, and managing production waste in an environmentally conscious manner.

SNV and VIOGAZ presented up-to-date program results and lessons learned relating to integrated power systems using industrial waste to generate energy. The implementers also highlighted that, in addition to generating energy at a low cost, the waste-to-energy model demonstrates the feasibility of converting waste management into an added value of the production chain. Surprisingly, the audience present at these events was unaware of these benefits, proving once more how effective ECPA initiatives are in raising awareness vis-à-vis renewable energy and its advantages.

To learn more about ECPA’s-Generation of Electricity from Biogas: Electricity Savings Solutions for Coffee Processing and Swine Farms in Honduras and Costa Rica and Promotion of Clean Energy Use through Raising Public Awareness initiative, click here.