GTZ Report: Smale Scale Energy from Biomass

For more detail, see the related story:

Experience with Small-scale Technologies for Basic Energy Supply:

Part I: Biomass Gasification

Small-scale Electricity Generation from Biomass GTZ-HERA has looked more closely into the small-scale use of biomass for rural off-grid electrification. Results are disillusioning.

Following the hype and frustrations over a global bio-fuel market, expectations regarding biomass now focus on local power generation in rural areas of developing countries. International organisations and donors advocate wood gasification, biogas, and vegetable oil as sustainable sources for decentralized power supply. Countless success stories on biomass use for small-scale electricity generation have been published.

However, in practice the picture seems to be a different one: many rumours indicate that the actual successes are not as numerous as the stories surrounding them. As a governmental development agency, GTZ is obliged to advocate only promising and sustainable approaches. Hence the GTZ Programme on Poverty-oriented Basic Energy Services (HERA) has conducted several inquiries with experts in Africa, Latin America and Asia focussing on practical operation experience with small-scale gasification, as well as the use of biogas and vegetable oil for power generation. Following the analysis of literature and in particular many direct inquiries with local experts , the survey not only revealed an abundant number of projects but an equally multitude of problems and obstacles.

The assessment resulted in a three-part series of papers on "Small- scale Electricity Generation from Biomass" covering biomass gasification (part I), biogas (part II), and plant oil (part III) for electric power generation.
The documents are now available for download:

Small-scale Electricity Generation from Biomass

Part 1 - Biomass Gasification

Part 2 - Biogas

Part 3 of the paper series which will cover plant oil for power generation will be available by the end of this year.

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