One of the major challenges for developing countries is to produce energy and to manage waste. Etc Terra works in these areas by targeting two major objectives:
- developing clean and renewable energy and make it available for rural populations;
- Improving and enhancing waste management in urban areas to address local (urban sanitation, public health, etc.) and global issues (resource availability, climate change, etc).
Biogas digester construction © Etc Terra
- Approximately 2.7 billion people, or 40% of the world's population depend on wood, charcoal or animal waste for their heating and cooking needs (UNDP);
- Energy production is responsible for 26% of the global greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC, 2014).
Etc Terra's action plan
A clean and renewable energy
The desired ideal of widespread access to energy needs to be balanced with the economic and environmental constraints of sustainability: it should not contribute to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, and should not expose users to fluctuations in the prices of fossil fuels.
Biogas technologies provide a potential solution within these constraints. The technology for the production of biogas through the fermentation of animal dung is a viable alternative to burning wood or fossil fuels, and largely benefits women and children by decreasing indoor air pollution while also providing organic fertilizer in the form of biogas slurry. Well-suited for any rural families owning livestock, this technology can be implemented in many countries.
Energy production at an appropriate scale
In order to respond effectively to the needs of rural populations and to ensure the supply of biogas over the long term, Etc Terra and its partners focus on implementing family-sized biogas units. Target families are able feed the animal dung directly into the biogas tanks or digesters and to handle the ongoing management of the biogas unit on their own.
Innovative financing tools
The investment required for the construction of a biodigester is very high in relation to the purchasing power of a rural family, despite the savings arising from reduced purchasing of fuel and fertilizer. Carbon finance, through the commercialisation of greenhouse gas emission reductions in the form of carbon credits, can cover all of the implementation and maintenance costs. Etc Terra supports local organisations in registering for international certifications such as Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) or the Gold Standard, allowing them to access financing through the voluntary carbon offset markets.
Etc Terra aims to implement biogas projects on various scales through technical and organisational support to local operators. This transfer of skills involves training local organisations (NGOs) both in the use of the biogas technology and in the workings of the carbon markets. Furthermore, Etc Terra provides training to local craftsmen on the construction of biodigesters, and on the sourcing of required materials locally for construction, operation and maintenance of the units to ensure their continuous working throughout their expected lifetine.
Learn more about our biogas implementation project: Biogas in Mali.
Composting platform © Andriatomanga
- In the least developed countries, only 40% of waste is collected and only 5% is dropped off in controled landfill sites (World Bank, 2007);
- The waste sector is responsible for 3% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide (IPCC, 2007).
Etc Terra's action plan
Improved waste collection
In terms of waste management, one of the first challenges is the organization of the waste collection. This involves many public and private stakeholders that need to work together effectively given the means available for this activity.
Given the proportion of organic matter in municipal waste in developing countries, composting provides a viable alternative to landfilling and corresponding pollution. On the one hand, it can provide a soil-enrichment product (with high levels of organic matter) very useful to the development of local agriculture. On the other hand, it reduces GHG emissions related to the decomposition of waste. Other recycled products can also be marketed: interlocking paving stones made of recycled plastic, fuel briquettes from recycled green and woody waste, glass recycling, etc.
Innovative financing tools
The sale of recycled products do not assure alone the economic viability of composting operators. Therefore, the use of other sources of funding is necessary. Carbon finance, through the valorisation of emission reductions of greenhouse gases as carbon credits, partially meets this need, as the payment of a fee per ton treated by the municipality which benefits from this service of waste treatment.
On this issue, Etc Terra and its partners work together to develop sustainable strategies and simple and ecofriendly technologies by transferring their skills to local operators and institutions.
This transfer of skills aims at developing the autonomy of operators after 4 to 6 years. allowing them to replicate their experience in other municipalities.