Initially, biogas use in Ethiopia, a country of over 85 million people, was under the collective cooking houses in Addis Ababa. Introduced in 1979, over 1000 plants had been constructed by 2008, with about 500 of them in use. Over 90% of all citizens rely on biomass fuel for cooking and lighting. And with 77% of agricultural families having cattle, many Ethiopians are eligible for biogas installation.

ABPP commenced its work in the country  in 2009 as  a public – private partnership of the Dutch Gevernment – DGIS, Hivos as the fund manager, SNV as the Technical Advisor and Ethiopia Ministry of Water and Mineral Resources, operating as National Implementing Agency under the name National Biogas Program – Ethiopia (NBPE). The programme operates in four regions of Oromiya, Amhara, Tigray and South Nations Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR).

During phase 1 (2009-2013) the program constructed 8,063 biogas plants against a target of 14,500 in 163 woredas (districts). Amhara region installed 1,892 plants, SNNPR 1,699 plants, Tigray 1,992 plants and Oromiya 2,480 plants. While, in the second phase (2014-2017) the program targets to install 20,000 plants. In 2014 alone, a total of 1762 plants had been constructed summing up to 9825 plants constructed since 2009.

The Fixed Dome model is the most preferred plant model in Ethiopia, other design introduced though not popular include the Interlocking Stabilized Soil Blocks (ISSB) and Solid State Digester (SSD). Development of a special biogas stove that can bake injera, a traditional flatbread national dish in Ethiopia made of teff flour  is ongoing. The stove is currently being tested  in the four regions and once complete it will be distributed to users in the four regions.

Bio-slurry extension has about 90% of all plants with a slurry pit, with 85% having compost pits for organic manure. Use of bio-slurry has seen improved agricultural production and incomes in many regions, including from sale of excess slurry to other farmers. Some farmers are also innovatively selling of excess slurry to other farmers. With 63% of all plants connected to the latrines, setting an enviable example to other programmes, sanitation and hygiene levels have continued to improve.

What is the implementation infrastructure? Intervention Area In its first phase, the biogas program will be executed in the  4 national regional states However, after the 1st phase it will be scaled up to other regions.

Currently, the biogas program is implemented in 163 woredas/districts of the 4 national regional states namely;
•    SNNPR : 23 woredas
•    Oromiya : 78 woredas
•    Amhara : 33 woredas
•    Tigray : 29 woredas

Key implementation strategies:-

Multi actor:  The promotion and dissemination of NBPE is implemented through the active participation of different stakeholders such as government, private sector, civil society, cooperatives, donors and users. Public private partnership: Government, NGOs, private sector are involved and make for strong partnerships for the successful dissemination of the technology in the country. Market-oriented/Commercial:  users buy the inputs  (construction materials, appliances and labor) at a  reasonable cost from the competitive market.

How has been the trend of production over the years? With a significant growth of biogas production from 2009 to 2013 and the trend shows progressive growth from year to year as indicated in the following table:

Year 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Digesters built 98 30 731 1641 2511 3150 2463 2260

Key implementation challenges

• Weak private sector development
• Lack of credit facilities in some regions
• Poor commitment of stakeholders at regional level
• Rising cost of construction material