The traditional cooking methods using firewood has for a long time been associated with a negative impact on health due to high emissions, such as respiratory and heart diseases, lung cancer, and eye irritations.
And in a bid to address the negative health impact, the government has been championing for the use of clean energy for cooking and lighting.
In Uasin Gishu County, the Ministry of Energy is promoting use of biogas, which is among the several renewable energy sources. Biogas is a gaseous fuel, especially methane, produced by the fermentation of organic matter. It can be produced from raw materials such as agricultural waste, manure, municipal waste, plant material, sewage, green waste or food waste.
According to David Ngugi who is in charge of the Uasin Gishu Energy Centre, they are currently pioneering biogas plants for 35 farmers.
Already 25 plants are complete and perfectly working with 10 others expected to be completed soon.
“We provide technicians for biogas construction and identify qualified mansions to construct the plants. We built plants for demonstration where those who are not aware can come see it working with the hope that they will make a decision of setting up their own,” said Ngugi.
The cost of setting up the biogas plants depends on the size. It ranges from Sh60,000 to Sh100,000.
Mark Cheptuk, a farmer in Ngeria Juction, Uasin Gishu County who was selected for one of the 35 biogas plants says he’s happy and satisfied with the new experience.
“I have embraced biogas for about two months now and were happy using it. It has no smoke, quick to use and there is no more worries about where to get firewood especially during rainy seasons and this era where you need permission to cut down a tree,” said Cheptuk who use cowdung from his four cows to feed the plant.
“I recommend biogas to any farmer as it is efficient, it can cook any kind of food and has no issues with chest that are usually associated with smoke from firewood,” he added.
For Cheptuk, 20 litres of cow dung and 20 litres of water is enough to run the plant and provide the needed gas in a day.
“We collect 20 litres of cow dung from the dairy where we milk our cows, put it in the inlet, mix with 20 litres of water and stir to ensure it has no stones or grass then pour it to the inlet where it flows to the digester which has bacteria that digests it and produces gas that is tapped through piping system that runs to kitchen where we have biogas burner,” explained the farmer.
He, however, asked the county government to look at ways to provide subsidies that will enable farmers set up the biogas plant at a cheaper cost.