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Biogas for sustainable development of rural Georgia

By Salome Modebadze
Thursday, April 30
On April 28 the Hotel Vere Palace hosted a joint seminar on Biogas for Sustainable Development of Rural Georgia organized by SWECO International and the BioEnergy Union co-funded by the Swedish Government.

Dali Bitsadze-Olofsson, Project Manager of the BioEnergy Union and Diana Miller-Dalsjo, the Team Leader of SWECO International opened the seminar with a brief introduction of the issue. They described the role of the pilot project, highlighting the public interest in renewable energy and outlining the perspectives of the project concerning changes in biogas production in the country.

Karin Eberle, Chemical and Environmental Engineer of SWECO, presented a survey of the Swiss-Georgian Project and outlined its main details. She explained that by utilising Swiss experience Georgian farmers will improve the agricultural sector by establishing waste management projects. Eberle said that the main goal of the project was to build bio digesters, improve the process of the recycling and conservation of bio fertilizers and ensure the safety of the air, water and soil. She also stressed the importance of sharing knowledge of the economical and ecological advantages of biogas digesters in the agricultural field. She also mentioned that the bio digester has no negative influence on the environment and reduces the amount of work women are obliged to undertake in agriculture.

Representatives of the Georgian authorities, local governments, financial institutions, NGOs, different companies and individual farmers attended the event at the Vere Palace Hotel and took an active part in discussion of the waste management project, being keen to give their opinions. Alexander Tsintsadze, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, highlighted the importance of biogas production for the sustainable development of rural areas. He stressed the need for an ecologically safe environment for future generations and evaluated this project as a very successful step towards the world market which will become an example for the Ministry of Agriculture of how to establish its main strategy and achieve its goals.

Leif Lindow from SWECO shared his experience of biogas production in various countries. He outlined the details of the recycling process and explained that biogas is a mixture of several gasses generated during a microbiological digestion process, and as such is flammable and needs careful attention. He also pointed out that manure and food waste naturally contain bacteria that degrade organic matter in the bio-digester under anaerobic conditions. “This is a completely natural process and doesn’t require any chemicals or expensive machinery,” he added.

“The idea of using digesters for biogas production was first formulated in Assyria in the 10th century. 16 million households use small-scale digesters as their main energy source in many parts of a world quite successfully even nowadays. Their main advantage lies in their capacity to help people create a safe environment and thus establish a public education bank concerning safety issues,” Lindow explained.

Avtandil Bitsadze, General Director of the BioEnergy Union, summarized all the advantages of the bio digester and expressed his strong will to extend the project and help Georgian farmers produce ecologically safe and accessible bio energy of their own.

Two bio digesters have been already installed in Georgia, one at the Matkhoji Convent in Khoni and the second in the Kaspi region. Giorgi Ninoshvili, a Kaspi farmer and Mother Barbare from the convent shared their own experience of using the bio digester. Goderdzi Goderdzishvili, Coordinator of Natural Resources and Agriculture for CARE International in Georgia, commented on the great opportunities for introducing the digester in all parts of the country and called the project a success.

At the end of the Seminar participants visited the recently installed bio digester in the Kaspi region, the largest in Georgia with 50 cubic metres capacity, and attended a presentation about it.