Biodigesters for productive use - pilot projects are finally taking off!


Apart from household biodigester market development, the current phase of the National Biogas Programme of Ethiopia is designing and piloting 40 larger size biodigesters. These pilots are being used in businesses such as dairy farms and public institutions like monasteries, for the productive uses of biogas and bio-slurry.

The biodigesters installed in dairy farms are used for electricity generation, which will in turn be used for dairy processing (milk chilling facility, warming water for milking, etc) or for running small agro-processing factories. The non-business institutions like monasteries are using the biogas and bio-slurry for productive use as some of the resulting products (milk and vegetables) are sold at the local market.

About National Biogas Programme of Ethiopia 

The current phase of the National Biogas Programme of Ethiopia (NBPE) namely Biogas Dissemination Scale-Up Programme (NBPE+) is co-funded by the European Union (EU) and the Government of Ethiopia. SNV is managing NBPE+ in partnership with the Ministry of Water, Irrigation & Energy (MoWIE) of Ethiopia. NBPE+ entered implementation from April 12, 2017 and will run for 63 months. It has a total target of 36,000 household biodigesters.

Biodigester pilots 

The first two completed pilot sites are in Sululta (80 M3) and Sebeta (60 M3), in Oromia Region. Currently there are four (4) larger size biodigesters under construction. They are 60 M3 in Modjo, 80 M3 in Bishoftu, 80 M3 in Holeta and 40 M3 in Sululta – all in Oromia Region, close to Addis Ababa. Despite challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and cement scarcity with price hike, construction progress, in three sites in Bishoftu, Mojo and Holeta, is in final stage, to be completed within 2 weeks.

Construction progress in Mojo (60 M3)

Construction progress Holeta (80 M3), Oromia Region

Additionally, there are also 6 other sites with feasibility study and contract agreement completed (2 in Sidama Region and 4 in Amhara region’s North Wollo zone, Woldiya and Kobo). Two more sites have feasibility study reports completed and under contract agreement process in Debre Berhan of Amhara Region and some others in Oromia region, are also interested to start the process. With this trend, piloting of larger size biodigesters, is finally taking off in a good way, after almost two years of starting the preparatory work for the piloting.

Construction Progress in Bishoftu, Oromia Region (80 M3)

The size of this biodigester is 80 M3


Saroj Rai

Energy Sector Leader