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CRANFIELD UNIVERSITY

Thomas Edward Wilson

Human Waste Disposal: A biogas feasibility study in Pabal

School of Applied Sciences Water Management: Community Water and Sanitation MSc

Academic Year: 2008-2009

Supervisor: James Webster September 2009

CRANFIELD UNIVERSITY

Thomas Edward Wilson

Human Waste Disposal: A biogas feasibility study in Pabal

School of Applied Sciences Water Management: Community Water and Sanitation MSc

Academic Year: 2008-2009

Supervisor: James Webster September 2009

This thesis is submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of MSc Water Management

© Cranfield University 2009. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright owner

ABSTRACT
Poor sanitation currently affects 2.6 billion people worldwide, contributing to the deaths of 1.5 million children every year and inflicting many others with disease and illness. Sanitation refers to the hygienic and safe way of discharging, collecting and disposing of excreta and liquid wastes in a manner that promotes the health of individuals and the community as a whole. Sanitation can easily be improved through education and improved hygienic techniques, as well as the provision of latrines or structures designed for removal and disposal purpose.

This study focuses on a project outlined by Engineers Without Borders and EngINdia, based in the village of Pabal in the Maharashtra district of India. The village suffers from a lack of water throughout the dry season and poor sanitation, with open defecation still being prevalent. The proposed solution aims towards a biogas generator design, which will provide alleviation of the poor sanitary situation and offer an alternative energy source. Due to numerous practical and socio-cultural influences, it was deemed that a feasibility study was required to review the current situation within the village, and to ascertain whether the technology is appropriate or not. The aim of this thesis therefore is to understand the current sanitation situation within Pabal, relating cultural and social issues related to the use of nighsoil in biogas production to the appropriateness of this technology in the village. The results derived from a questionnaire suggest that the technology can provide numerous benefits to Pabal, yet the implementation project needs to be tailored appropriately to particular households. The study concludes with recommendations on how this can be achieved.

Keywords:

Biogas, nightsoil, sanitation, Pabal.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This thesis is a combination of the help and support from many generous people, enabling the research to be undertaken and presented here. Firstly, I would like to thank the people I met in the village of Pabal in India. Without their patience and generosity the project would not have been possible. Many thanks to the staff and students of Vigyan Ashram who supported my studies whilst in India. James Webster and Alison Parker were fundamental throughout the whole of this thesis and with their guidance and knowledge I have managed to complete it, to which I am very grateful. Finally, I would like to thank my parents, for their time, patience and financial support.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
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ABSTRACT...................................................................................................................... i. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS.............................................................................................ii. TABLE OF FIGURES ..................................................................................................... v. TABLE OF TABLES ...................................................................................................... v. 1 Introduction.............................................................................................................. 1. 1.1 Problem Statement ........................................................................................... 3. 1.2 Aims and Objectives ........................................................................................ 6. 2 Literature Review..................................................................................................... 7. 2.1 Introduction...................................................................................................... 7. 2.2 Health and Environmental Benefits ................................................................. 7. 2.3 Sanitation Benefits ........................................................................................... 8. 2.4 Agricultural and Economic Benefits................................................................ 9. 2.5 Social Benefits ............................................................................................... 10. 2.6 Financing Issues............................................................................................. 12. 2.7 Issues of Nighsoil Use ................................................................................... 13. 2.8 Nightsoil Health Concerns ............................................................................. 13. 2.9 Biogas Adoption ............................................................................................ 14. 2.10 Biogas Implementation .................................................................................. 15. 2.11 A Novel Design for a Biogas Generator ........................................................ 16. 3 Methodology .......................................................................................................... 17. 3.1 Previous Work ............................................................................................... 17. 3.2 Theoretical Aspects of Methodology..............................................................17. 3.2.1 Neuman's Four Dimensions of Research......................................................17. 3.2.2 Purpose of the Research...............................................................................18. 3.2.3 Time Dimension of the Study......................................................................18. 3.2.4 Data Collection Techniques.........................................................................18. 3.3 Interview Bias.................................................................................................18. 3.4 Interviews....................................................................................................... 20. 3.5 Pilot ................................................................................................................ 21. 4 Results and Analysis .............................................................................................. 20. 4.1 Introduction.................................................................................................... 20. 4.2 The Current Situation in Pabal....................................................................... 21. 4.2.1 How the village is viewed by people living there........................................ 21. 4.2.2 Changes in the village...................................................................................21. 4.2.3 Infrastructure, development routes, hierarchies............................................21. 4.2.4 Summary.......................................................................................................22. 4.3 Sanitation ......................................................................................................... 22. 4.3.1 Waste disposal problems.............................................................................. 22. 4.3.2 Latrine access............................................................................................... 22. 4.3.3 Prevalence of open defecation ..................................................................... 23. 4.3.4 Summary ...................................................................................................... 23. 4.4 Biogas .............................................................................................................. 24. 4.4.1 General opinions on biogas........................................................................... 24. 4.4.2 Acceptability of using human waste ............................................................. 24. iii

4.4.3 Towards an implementation project.............................................................. 25. 4.4.4 Problems towards an implementation project............................................... 25. 4.4.5 Summary ....................................................................................................... 25. 4.5 Overview of Questionnaire Data ..................................................................... 29. 4.6 Tailored Interview Results ............................................................................... 30. 4.6.1 Previous biogas schemes............................................................................... 30. 4.6.2 Future potentials for biogas .......................................................................... 31. 4.7 Pilot Biogas Project ........................................................................................ 32. 4.8 Overall Summary ............................................................................................. 33. 5 Discussion .............................................................................................................. 34. 5.1 Introduction.................................................................................................... 34. 5.2 Review ........................................................................................................... 34. 5.3 Conclusions.................................................................................................... 37. 6 Reccomendations ................................................................................................... 38. 6.1 Introduction.................................................................................................... 38. 6.2 Elements to be reviewed ................................................................................ 38. REFERENCES .............................................................................................................. 40. APPENDICES ............................................................................................................... 43.

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TABLE OF FIGURES
Figure 1. (National map of Pabal).......................................................................................4. Figure 2. (Village map of Pabal).........................................................................................5. Figure 3. (Photograph of Pabal high street)........................................................................5. Figure 4. (Photograph of biogas generator)......................................................................21. Figure 5. (Photograph of biogas latrine)...........................................................................22. Figure 6. (Chart showing the distribution of number of persons per household).............28. Figure 7. (Chart showing the acceptance of nighsoil)......................................................28. Figure 8. (Chart showing biogas adoption).......................................................................28. Figure 9. (Photograph showing teacher’s biogas).............................................................31. Figure 10. (Photograph showing farmer’s biogas.............................................................32.

TABLE OF TABLES
Table 1. (Table of an overview of the interview results)..................................................27.

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1. Introduction

Sanitation refers to the safe and hygienic approach to discharging, collecting and disposing excreta and liquid wastes in a manner that promotes the health of individuals and the community as a whole (Colford et al 2005). Poor sanitation can have severe implications for health and hygiene, resulting in numerous illnesses and sicknesses. Faeces contains disease-causing pathogenic micro-organisms and it is therefore important to remove these potential hazards. Organisms that can cause disease include viruses, bacteria and parasitic protozoa, as well as hookworms and other parasitic helminths (EcoSanRes 2004). These have the potential to cause severe illness and can even be fatal.

There are numerous transition paths through which contamination can occur, including fluids, fields, flies, food and fingers, ultimately ending up being consumed by a person. These contamination pathways can be limited through a number of techniques, which often involve improvements in personal hygiene, food hygiene, adequate cooking, water disinfection and the provision of toilets. Diarrhoeal disease is one consequence of contamination and is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in less developed countries, especially among children under than five years (Colford et al. 2005). Inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene contribute to the deaths of 1.5 million children every year (Sulabh International 2008).

It is estimated that 2.6 billion people worldwide remain without proper safe facilities for waste collection and removal, thus lacking protection against preventable diseases that claim the lives of thousands of people daily (UNICEF 2007). A 2001 census in India highlighted that 23 per cent of the population currently lack access to a latrine either in the house or as a shared facility (Water Aid 2006). When populations and families are consistently affected by illness this inhibits wealth generation as their labour is reduced, and they often have to spend their limited income on medicines. Improved sanitation can benefit economics on a household scale, as well as nationally. 1

Women and young girls often compromise their safety when a lack of latrines forces them to relieve themselves in unsafe areas or in darkness, with some girls not attending school when there is no lavatory facilities for them (Sulabh International 2008). It is evident that a lack of sanitation infrastructure can have far reaching impacts, affecting education, dignity and self-esteem.

However, simple interventions to reduce illness can be implemented by improving sanitary conditions and the construction of basic sanitary structures built for the purpose. Sanitation interventions often include the provision of some form of excreta disposal system or latrines (Colford et al. 2005). The provision of latrines can manifest itself in numerous designs, including pit latrines, composting latrines, urine diversion, Arborloos and pour-flush latrines to name a few. Sulabh International (2008) have achieved numerous successful sanitation projects, linking latrines to biogas generators in individual and communal settings. Biogas is a flammable gas released by decaying organic matter, commonly consisting of methane and carbon dioxide (UN 1980). This natural gas is usually obtained from plants and manure and can be exploited for fuel use in cooking, lighting and electricity generation. With regards to sanitation, night soil (human waste) can be used as the input to this digestion process as Sulabh International (2008) have done, utilising a previously wasted source of fuel. Such sanitation interventions usually consist of single or multiple latrines attached to a digestion chamber of adequate size. The slurry from this can also be used as a fertilizer for agricultural crops. In Maharashtra, there have been numerous successful schemes aimed at improving sanitation in villages (Govt. of Maharashtra 2009), yet a major hurdle in the provision of water and sanitation services often relates to inadequate financing for development of the required infrastructure (Water Aid 2006). Programmes are often individual and isolated, rather than on a larger scale, aimed benefiting numerous villages and households.

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1.1 Problem Statement

The green revolution has provided many benefits for farmers across the globe, increasing crop yields and easing hunger problems. However, it has also had many negative impacts, with Pabal being no exception. Environmental degradation and poor soil fertility has increasingly been noticed as farmers rely on chemical fertilizers and over-use the land. EWB and EngINdia have undertaken a number of projects to help focus on better agricultural practice. As previously highlighted, Pabal suffers from a lack of water resources, and although this has been alleviated by the construction of a new dam five years ago, the situation is still not ideal. Sanitation in the village has improved drastically, yet although the Indian government provides subsidies for the construction of outdoor latrines, many use it as a storeroom. The reason for this is that in the past, population levels were low enough to continue practicing open defecation. Furthermore, given the water shortage situation in the village, many cannot spare the water for flushing their latrine (EWB 2008). This lack of water for flushing toilet systems combined with the practice of open defecation, has resulted in a solution being proposed by EngINdia to alleviate these problems, and to provide an alternative energy source for the intermittent electricity supply available to Pabal.

Pabal is a rural village located in the Maharashtra state of India (figure 1.), with a population some 15,000 strong (EngINdia 2009). This includes the 5,000 people living in Pabal itself, and approximately 15 or so hamlets surrounding the village. Many people living in the surrounding hamlets practice faming on the relatively flat countryside. Being approximately five hours from Mumbai and two from Pune, the closest city, Pabal is situated in a remote part of India. Figures 2. and 3. show a local sketch map of the village and photograph of the high street.

The village experiences heavy monsoons in the wet seasons and vicious droughts in the dry, offering both climatic extremes for the local population. Dry season temperatures vary from 20-38 °C, and monsoon temperatures from 10-20 °C (EngINdia 2009). Pabal 3

was previously a local regional centre, which attracted development and growth. This declined at the turn of the 20th century, with the village consequently suffering from a lack of investment. It is widely appreciated however, that the introduction of the Jain temple and Vigyan Ashram to the village has supported the recent growth in the past 20 years. Households typically comprise of 4-7 people in a family, often including 2-3 children and at least one grandparent (EngINdia 2009).

Figure 1. National map of Pabal. (google maps 2009).

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Figure 2. Village map of Pabal (EngINdia 2009).

Figure 3. Pabal high street.

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Vigyan Ashram is an educational centre which specialises in many appropriate rural technologies, solving practical problems with intuitive designs. The Ashram has many successful projects labelled to its name and often provides information for villagers in Pabal on agricultural or technical issues they may have. Many villagers have also attended short courses run by the Ashram. The main aim of the Ashram is to educate its students and help them to be successful in future pursuits, yet it is not directly linked with the village. None the less, its impact cannot be underestimated. Although it is not strictly an NGO working in Pabal, it can provide some useful insight and support for research, and will contribute information to this thesis.

1.2 Aims and Objectives The proposal from Eng INdia is to design and install a biogas generator which utilises human waste (night soil) on a household scale. The digester would be designed to provide year round biogas and produce compost from the slurry which famers can use on their fields, reducing the need for artificial fertilizers. As the generator is run on night soil, a constant input would be required for gas generation, reducing open defecation in Pabal and improving the sanitary situation in the village. Vigyan Ashram is interested in experimenting with a biogas system which will be attached to the guest building and accommodation of 40 people, whilst providing energy as well as fertilizer. Their main interest is in performing a trial of this technology so that problems can be identified and solved before the system is implemented throughout the region (EWB 2008). The aim of this thesis therefore is to determine the current sanitary situation within Pabal village, relating the research to many issues that are important to biogas implementation and adoption. It is desired that local culture and society will be taken into account to understand the appropriateness of the technology. In order to achieve this, interviews and questionnaires will be undertaken. These will be discussed in more detail in the methodology section. It is hoped that the data collected will provide useful information for use in an implementation scheme for a human waste fed biogas latrine project. The thesis will ultimately provide a feasibility study into the practicality and appropriateness of an implementation project in Pabal. 6

2. Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

Biogas generation is by no means a new technology to be exploited by populations. Rather, it has been employed to produce gas and slurry for agricultural fertilizer for hundreds of years, using a range of fuels and methods (UN 1980). Biogas generation has numerous benefits for the user and local environment as it is a green and renewable energy source, often bringing alleviation to many poverty stricken locations across the globe. However, the development of this technology on a global scale in rural regions, especially in a developing country context, has been hindered as the decimation of knowledge has not been successful, uniform or available. Although this technology is often readily applicable and easily set-up, its adoption has been hindered for the reasons mentioned previously. Furthermore, local conditions often dictate the design and success of the technology, with pre-experimentation and feasibility often being required to assess this. Research has also been undertaken into the socio-cultural aspects of biogas development, as this can have a significant impact upon the uptake and maintenance of biogas generators.

2.2 Health and environmental benefits

Rural households in developing countries are often afflicted by the same generic problems of intermittent water supply, poor sanitation and dwindling energy sources, with India being no exception. Neudoeffer et al. (2001) examined the energy distribution of fuel within rural India and highlighted how the population is primarily dependant on biomass to meet energy needs, with the household sector accounting for nearly 75% of this, and cooking being the largest household end use, accounting for 90% of the total.

Much of the required fuel is biomass and its demand is currently on the rise, increasing the issues of sustainable supply and management of biomass resources in rural areas. Large quantities of biomass energy are wasted because of low utilisation efficiency 7

through incomplete combustion in fire stoves (Lianzhong et al. 2008). Around 73% of all cooking energy requirements in rural areas can be met from biogas (Kishore, 2002). Research by Agoramoorthy and Hsu (2008) highlights the enormous potential of biogas plants in relieving ecological stress in India, as of the 125 households implemented with biogas generators, a total of 79.79 tonnes of forest firewood was saved.

Not only is the local environment increasingly destroyed for this growing demand in energy supply, but the use of firewood in home cooking has a detrimental effect on the health of the family members. Thus, respiratory and eye diseases are high in India (Kapdi et al 2004). Agoramoorthy and Hsu (2008) show that after biogas implementation in households, the number of times people visited clinics for smoke-related illnesses, such as eye infection, burns, respiratory problems, asthma, dizziness, headache, intestinal problems and diarrhoea fell from 6.10±1.25 to 2.62±0.97. Such are the benefits from the clean burning fuel that Prakash (2005) noted a reluctance of housewives to use firewood once they became habituated to cook in a smoke free environment when they used biogas. Biogas implementation schemes therefore often include aims to conserve fuel wood, reduce deforestation/ environmental degradation and remove/reduce smoke from kitchens (Kishore, 2002).

2.3 Sanitation benefits

Biogas generation utilising night soil/human waste can have direct improvements on local sanitary conditions, as it reduces open defecation, where waste can leach into local streams and cause contamination. The provision of latrines accompanied by biogas are often more successful when the direct benefit of gas provision can be seen. Improvements in sanitation often results in better health of the whole family, and reduces the incidences of disease (UN 1980).

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2.4 Agricultural and economic benefits

The slurry produced by the biogas digester is a rich, fertile source of nutrients for plants and crops. Its utilisation can increase yield dramatically and reduce the reliance on artificial fertilisers, thus providing benefit to the farmer as he saves money, and the environment as it is not overwhelmed with artificial nutrients. The use decreases the need for chemical fertilisers, with the economic and environmental benefits safeguarding soil fertility (Prakash 2005). Chemical fertilisers can be expensive and hard to come by in many communities, and a reduction in their reliance is a positive element of biogas implementation.

Saving in the quantity of cooking and/or lighting fuel is directly an economic benefit of the biogas plant to the concerned household with approximately 2 cum of biogas, equating to 210-150kg firewood per month (Prakash 2005). 70% of households made use of the slurry in Prakash’s (2005) research. Furthermore, fuel produced locally is not so vulnerable to disruption as imported sources (Bates 2007), such as grid electricity or imported bottled gas. Nightsoil-based biogas plants in Maharashtra’s Pune district, yielded results from the 75 biogas plants in Dehu village supporting this argument. It has been calculated that the installation of the plants has reduced the demand for LPG gas in the village by about 100 domestic LPG cylinders per month (Mapuskar 2007).

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2.5 Social benefits

Utilising biogas energy can help reduce the drudgery of rural women and children in their previous collection of fuel materials from long distances (Lianzhong et al. 2008). As women in the household are often tasked with fuel collection, the time saved through fuel collection often creates new opportunities and freedoms for them. Younger members of the household can attend school with this time saved when previously they could not. Furthermore, successful biogas implementation can reduce the labour of tasks preformed by women and girl-children, their consequent exposure to health hazards, as well as employment in rural areas (Kishore, 2002). Biogas implementation can have wider ranging economic benefits for non-users and the community as a whole through cleaner practices and increased conservation of forests (Prakash 2005). Although it is clear that one biogas generator will not have a significant impact, a successful scheme incorporating much of the community can help bring lasting benefits to any population. Biogas fuelled lighting is a major social asset and is often associated with longer periods for work or study (Bates 2007), combining social and economical benefits.

Thus the clear encompassing benefits of biogas can be seen, having positive impacts upon human health, sanitation, social elements, local economics and the environment. Very few other solutions can provide so many benefits under one design. However, the effectiveness of biogas implementation schemes can be assisted or hindered by a number of socio-economic influences, each individual to the culture and setting. Drake et al. (2009) highlight these various influences, and are summarised as follows;

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Age of head of household As the age of the head of household increases, the chance of adoption of the technology generally decreases. This is often due to a more open approach by younger members of society as they are less cautious in adopting new technologies. Gender of head of household The gender is not particularly significant in general, even though women are more involved with fuel collection and energy use. However, this may not be the case in Pabal however as the Hindu religion has a very strict gender system with women having less authority then men. Education Better education generally results in greater understanding of the technology, including environmental and economic benefits. However, increased years in education often lead to more administrative and management based professions, rather than hands-on professions. Therefore, biogas can often be viewed as a technology for the poor by the rural educated, but this is often location specific and is unlikely to affect Pabal. Size of land The greater the availability of space, the increased likelihood of adoption as the household has more potential to develop the technology and are not spatially constrained. Size of household The greater the household size, the increased likelihood of adoption. Not only is this important in volume of waste for the generator, but also labour for routine maintenance and operation of the digester. Number of cattle Biogas can offer an effective solution to large quantities of cattle waste whilst also providing an energy source. A larger cattle herd therefore often increases the likelihood of adoption. Location Each household is individual and location can have either positive or negative impacts on adoption. Households in more desirable parts of a town or village may hesitate in adopting biogas as it may not be seen as a desirable technology in that location.

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Income Generally, a greater income increases the likelihood of adoption as the household has more capital to invest and use to improve their situation. If a household has very little spare capital it is increasingly difficult to implement biogas. This also has important implications for long term repairs and maintenance.

Experiences by Rajam (2003) highlight how social and cultural influences can prevent development. However, his research shows that after implementation the socio-economic improvements can create mass strides in the local minds and helps to break away all the psychological and conventional reservations. It is evident that a successful pilot scheme can help to develop implementation in socially inhibited locations. The author continues, that local inhabitants of the research area now realise the importance of hygiene and the ecological and environmental values. Drake et al. (2009) conclude that an understanding of the socio economic factors influencing biogas would assist in policy formulation and implementation of programmes designed to promote voluntary adoption of the technology by households.

2.6 Financing Issues

Small scale decentralised energy systems are often inhibited by the initial capital cost required for their set up, even though long term maintenance may be low. Decentralised energy supply options have high transaction costs associated with putting together various elements of technology, finance, development and management, which make the schemes financially unviable (Reddy and Srinivas 2009). Successful decentralised schemes need to employ designs which are inexpensive, whilst utilising local resources to keep capital costs to a minimum.

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2.7 Issues of Nightsoil use

Using human excreta as a renewable fuel source can understandably be a difficult social and cultural issue, inhibiting biogas development and implementation which utilises night soil. For example the concept of this is unacceptable in much of Bangladesh due to social-cultural reasons and religion (Prakash 2005).

The taboo over using gas from such a source can severely hinder projects based on such a fuel. Hindi culture, as found in Pabal, is a structured class system which may not only affect adoption due to social class, but also how upper classes view the lower classes (Furedy 1990). Furthermore, although the benefits of using night soil may be understood and readily accepted, pressure from family, friends and neighbours has previously prevented adoption (Prakash 2005). If the source of biogas is known to be from human waste, it can often discourage people from buying food made using such a fuel, or even accepting tea from a friend or neighbour.

This can potentially be overcome or subdued by an effective education programme, which aims to highlight the benefits of using such an energy source, whilst showing that it is a clean substitute to current fuels. Although there is currently no evidence of educational programmes to alleviate this, it is commonly accepted that education can overcome this. These issues of acceptability need to be developed as a community project (Furdy 1990). However, caution must be made not to infringe on the culture of a society as this may not be accepted.

2.8 Nightsoil Health Concerns

There are possible health concerns over utilizing nightsoil due to potential contamination through transferring pathogens from human waste. However, these concerns are unfounded as the process is in fact a positive way of reducing pathogens. It is important to highlight the research into this which shows how pathogens can be safely removed through a suitable digestion process. During the digestion process, dangerous bacteria in 13

dung and other organic matter are killed, which reduces pathogens dangerous to human health (Bates 2007). The decay rate of viable bacteria is dependant on many factors, of which the temperature, treatment time, pH, volatile fatty acids, batch or continuous digestion, bacterial species and available nutrients are particularly important (Sahlstrom 2003). It is important to highlight the research into this which shows how pathogens can be safely removed through a suitable digestion process.

2.9 Biogas Adoption

Biogas adoption can be affected by any number of the above influences, with the magnitude of the significance of each one depending upon the locality and socio-culturaleconomic factors. Extensive research by Prakash (2005) into biogas schemes in Bangladesh provides useful insight on biogas adoption methods and important adoption factors. The majority of households which chose to adopt biogas did so after a family discussion, rather than the head of household making an independent decision (of which the majority were male). Only 14% however were motivated by other plant users to install biogas, yet existing plants are to become a tool for promotion and extension of the technology, intending to increase this as a useful adoption tool. Kishore (2002) experienced problems when the technology was seen as too cumbersome, with models promoted being premature prototypes with very low operational reliability. The design and operation of biogas generators is very important in the acceptability of the technology to the recipient.

2.10 Biogas Implementation

Agoramoorthy and Hsu (2008) note that the selection of households for implementation involves three main requirements; 1. Availability of an appropriate quantity of daily feed, cattle dung, night soil etc. 2. Availability of water. 3. Access to land near the kitchen to construct plant.

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Bates (2007) highlights that a number of certain technical, social and financial criteria must be met if implementation schemes are to be successful; 1. Technically, the availability of sufficient raw feedstuffs is required, as well as a sufficient temperature of the digester and the skills and technical know-how. 2. Socially, it is more likely to succeed if there is a market for fertilizer, with the promotion and dissemination of benefits needed if it to be accepted. 3. Financially, set up costs can be relatively high so many may not be able to afford such a scheme, thus micro credit schemes are advised.

Each household will have individual settings and requirements, yet by using the above elements and tailoring them to Pabal’s need, a good estimation can be established for each household as to the implementation of biogas.

Relevant limitations which are often evident in many households and locations, must be acknowledged as they have a paramount influence over implementation. Firstly is income and available funds of the household. Depending on the specifics of the programme, the household may have to provide a contribution or pay for the whole cost of the digester. Furthermore, repairs and maintenance will require future investment, albeit a lower cost than the initial implementation. Some families may not have the free capital to provide a digester for their household. A programme will therefore require information on the cost of a digester.

Second is the capacity of the location to produce, construct or provide biogas digesters. This is mainly dependant on design, as construction, materials and skilled labour may be required. Many towns or villages may lack the infrastructure to do this, therefore requiring one or all of the above to be imported from a different locality. The two elements can have a dramatic impact upon the logistics of creating an implementation scheme and cannot be understated in their importance.

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2.11 A Novel Design for a Biogas Generator- Joanna Read’s Design

A biogas digester design was previously prepared for EngINdia by Joanna Read in 2008. The ‘plug flow’ type digester is designed to produce 3.2m³ of biogas per day for a family size of eight people, with the ease of construction, operation and maintenance being paramount if the generator is to present a viable alternative energy source (Read 2008). The benefit with this design is that it does not require water for its operation and should be available for use all year round, however the design cost is currently too great. The design still needs to be adjusted and a trial of the digester undertaken within Pabal.

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3. Methodology

3.1 Previous work

Local development work has been limited, with Vigyan Ashram being the only external research centre providing intuitive designs for numerous practical problems. EngINdia and Engineers Without Borders have also provided design solutions to issues in Pabal, and highlighted numerous problems which need to be addressed. Jo Read’s biogas design is one example of this, as described earlier. With relation to biogas, there is very limited previous experience from Pabal to capitalise upon for this research project.

Vigyan Ashram have previously experimented with a flushing biogas latrine of 1m³, yet the results were not favourable for a practical biogas generation. The results indicate that too much flushing water was used and not enough night soil was supplied for the digestion process. To understand the local conditions, another pilot scheme is to be undertaken with a greater focus on making a suitable experiment. The results from the Ashram experiments will be useful for the design and suitability of a biogas scheme within Pabal.

3.2 Theoretical aspects of methodology

The research was carried out in Pabal village, Maharashtra, over a period of six weeks in coordination with Engineers Without Borders and EngINdia. This chapter describes the methods used to achieve the objectives outlined in the aims and objectives section.

3.2.1 Newman’s four dimensions of research Neuman (1999), highlights that in social research, there are four dimensions of description; the purpose of the study, its use, its time dimension and the data collection techniques used.

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3.2.2 Purpose of the research As the aim of this research was to understand the current situation within the village, with regards to sanitation, and to review the situation. Under Neuman’s (1999) views, it can be described as a descriptive piece of research. Although describing the situation can be useful, explanatory work is required to obtain a complete assessment to understand what is already known.

3.2.3 Use of the research The thesis consisted of the research and feasibility component of EWB’s human waste disposal project in Pabal village, which links biogas with sanitation. Neuman (1999) divides research into two clear categories, those of basic and applied. Basic research aims to support and contribute to known theoretical knowledge, whilst applied research relates to research that is directed at a specific problem and aims to use the results in a practical fashion. The results obtained from this thesis can be used to construct a project feasibility study and be used in an implementation scheme.

3.2.4 Time dimension of the study The research comprised of 22 questionnaires and tailored interviews, conducted over the six week period, with an aim of understanding the current sanitation situation and biogas appropriateness. Although a greater, more in-depth survey was desired, the project was limited economically and temporally which restrained this. Furthermore, there was no previous data available to utilise or compare with. Therefore, a case-study approach was undertaken (Neuman 1999).

3.2.5 Data collection techniques Both quantitative and qualitative data was required for the project in order to understand the technical aspects of the biogas digester, and the social aspects relating to sanitation. Qualitative data is the best source of information to understand socio-cultural aspects within a community, looking at community attitudes and perceptions. Theory can be

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developed from the analysis of this data, which is primarily collected in the form of interviews and questionnaires.

3.3 Interview bias

Neuman (1999) highlighted how bias can affect the results of the research, changing the outcome of the findings. Such bias could come about through the respondent misunderstanding the question or even lying to please the interviewer, or due to the presence of others. Bias can be limited through highlighting the aims of the research to the interviewee so they can understand the situation, with open ended questions to allow in-depth answers to be provided by the respondent. As is typical in any Indian village, the presence of unusual activity promotes curiosity. Thus when interviews were held outside, a crowd often gathered. Although this did not hinder the interviews, the presence of others may have had a direct impact on the answers of the interviewee, particularly on sensitive subjects. It is often noted that in traditional villages the culture prevents women from speaking with foreigners and are not allowed to go outside, being limited to the home. However, this problem was not apparent in Pabal, with women conducting many of the interviews and even openly correcting their husbands on certain facts relating to the household.

Some difficulties were encountered when the interviewee could only speak Marathi, the regional dialect, and not Hindi, which was required by the interpreter. Whenever required and possible, a second interpreter was introduced, or the interview was conducted through another family member who could speak Hindi. Translation from one language to another, especially through a third party can incur bias as some answers may be simplified or altered. When translation was required through three languages, the risk of bias was increased. Nevertheless, at every opportunity the utmost care was taken to make sure that bias was limited and did not affect the results.

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3.4 Interviews

Baseline data is required to understand the actual needs, trends and realities within the village, with regards to sanitation and biogas. As previously shown, local social, economic and cultural issues are paramount to successful implementation. With these elements in mind, it was decided that semi-structured interviews were required to obtain a greater understanding of the village and its people. Tailored interviews would also be required to ensure that specific data on the village and previous biogas schemes are obtained.

Semi-structured interviews were constructed to include thirty-six questions each, focusing on the village, water quality and treatment, sanitation and finally biogas. The interviewee’s details were also taken at the end of the interview to obtain a greater understanding about their situation and to provide useful information relating to the factors that Drake et al. (2009) highlight for their importance when studying the social side of biogas. These included the interviewee’s age, sex, size of family, size of land, age and sex of the head of household. Wherever possible, their education and income was taken into account, yet it is noted that this can often be a sensitive subject and results are not always obtainable.

The questions were placed in a logical order so that conversation could flow more freely as they were relevant to the last question. Although each question focuses on a specific area with a required answer, they allow scope for the interviewee to elaborate on the subject and give a fuller response. This is important as it creates a better understanding of the situation as the interviewee can detail their feelings about the subject, rather than a limited answer to a specific question.

The interviews were conducted throughout the village and hamlets, with random transects taken through the village itself and individual days spent in a specific hamlet. Interviewees were chosen with a view to their openness and availability to spare the time.

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In both cases, the aim was to ensure that biogas is an appropriate technology for the village and its community, providing an adequate solution to the problems there.

3.5 Pilot

The 1m³ rising-dome biogas digester with attached latrine was prepared by Vigyan Ashram to begin the pilot scheme trials. For the cultivation of bacteria to produce the gas, 400kg of cattle faeces was used to initiate the start up period. After this period the latrine will be used in accordance to the UN guidebook (1980) for a 1m³ rising-dome biogas digester run on night soil. This requires 8 people to use the latrine daily and a maximum of 1 litre of washing and flush water to be used. It is important that there is enough human waste available to produce the gas whilst it is not too diluted with flush water. Issues which need to be considered are the quantity and quality of gas retrieved, any issues with volume of flush water, if the number of people using the latrine is sufficient, length of time for the start up period and general practicality of the project.

Figure 4. Biogas generator

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Figure 5. Biogas Latrine.

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4. Results and Analysis

4.1 Introduction The results are set out in a manner so that specific areas can be easily referred to for information, which may be useful for project implementation. As in line with the objectives, the cultural and social issues have been outlined to assess the importance of each one, and to make the conclusions clearer. Each interviewee was offered confidentiality of their response, yet as all were happy share their information, full names are used. Each quotation is followed by the interviewee’s surname and initials, and then by their interviewee number and questionnaire number. This is for clarity and ease of reference. The results consist of twenty-two individual interviewee data sets, with another three tailored interviews. These results are a small selection which aims to represent the majority in the village. Although it is desirable to interview as many people as possible, thus making the results more representative and accurate due to differing opinions, they nonetheless provide a useful insight into the current situation within the village. Thus, every care has been taken to interview people from various locations throughout Pabal and its hamlets, from different employment, wealth and gender.

The interviews were often conducted in the afternoon as during the morning most were working and then sleeping during the heat of the day. In the evening during certain weeks without night time electricity it was too dark so the afternoon proved the best time. However, at this time it was also noted that many of the men were out so the women of the household were more accessible for interviewing. A table can be found in the appendix which shows a breakdown of the classifications to which each household was based, depending on size of land and location within the village.

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4.2 The current situation in Pabal

4.2.1 How the village is viewed by people living there. Almost all of the interviewees had very positive opinions of village, often saying ‘I like it here’ and ‘it is very nice’, without any direct dislike towards Pabal. A number of interviewees highlighted some of the problems in the village. (Kedar, C.A. 12:1) commented that the problems ‘Are not so good and not so bad. It is often the same problems everywhere in India of no drinking water. The piped water here is not so good and requires treatment’. Interviewees’ 15 and 21, (Choudhari, R.D 15:1) and (Jadhav, B.N 21:1) echo this view, saying that ‘It is very arid and there are a lot of water problems’ and that ‘the scarcity of water is the main problem’. (Salankar, P.G 5:1) also commented that ‘the lights are bad and there are a lot of mosquitoes’.

4.2.2 Changes in the village. The results generally indicate that there have been great improvements in the village, with the construction of schools, roads, water infrastructure, electricity and communications. The ‘German Arthsahayya Project laid down the new pipe network’ (Roshkar, V.S 5:4), under a contract. These improvements in water have meant that ‘people used the well and it required a lot of labour’ but ‘Now water is in the households’ (Salenkar, P.G 5:5). (Dhole, R 19:4) notes how the village has benefited from ‘A lot of links have been made with bigger towns and cities, including trade and business’. The growth of the village is evident, yet this is not without problems. ‘Before it was nicer and cleaner, but now people throw rubbish outside and even more people are coming’ (Pancar, A 18:4).

4.2.3 Infrastructure, development routes, hierarchies. From the interview results, most people agree that the Grampanchayat makes the majority of decisions within the village. Each area of the village and hamlets are represented by elected members, who are headed by the Sarpanch. (Jayatas D.P 1:6) attributes the development to the Grampancyahat, saying how ‘The local committee has helped’ and that ‘The Grampanchayat and police station’ make the decisions (Jadhav, A.R 2:9). 24

‘Every decision is made there’ (Pingale, M. P 6:7). (Sambhadas, R.S 8:8) also commented on the infrastructure, saying that ‘There are facilities but they are not looked after or taken seriously’.

4.2.4 Summary The village, like many in India, has seen development in numerous different areas in recent years and is fondly regarded by those that live there as their home, a nice place to live. Some interviews (Pingale, M.P 6) give very positive answers about the village, whilst many other interviewees can see how there are still some problems evident and are happy to share both sides of the story. The Grampanchayat is an elected village committee headed by the Sarpanch, an elected leader. Each area within the village and surrounding hamlets elect a local representative who then joins the Grampanchayat to discuss local issues.

4.3 Sanitation

4.3.1 Waste disposal problems There is no central waste disposal system within the village, and this is made evident by the waste around the centre of the village. ‘There is no refuse collection so we burn our waste and compost the organic matter’ (Roshkar, V.S 4:26). Some results suggest that much of the waste composted if it is organic, whilst the rest is burnt, (Sambhadas, R.S 8:27) and (Dada, T 17:26). Others ‘Throw it outside’ (Ratnabarki, S.S 11:26), whilst (Rathed, S.M 13:26) puts it ‘Every two days into a pit the Grampanchayat has made’. It is evident that there are numerous methods of dealing with waste in the village, with different methods being chosen for their suitability to the household.

4.3.2 Latrine Access Out of the twenty-two questionnaires undertaken, twenty interviewees have access to a private household latrine, with five having them indoors, and fifteen having them outside. There are two communal latrine blocks in Pabal, constructed by the Grampanchayat for 25

the village (Rathed, S.M 16:24), and were constructed before household latrines were compulsory in the village (Jadhav, A.R 2:32). However, no interviewees found the need to use them as those with latrines did not require them. ‘The Grampanchayat made a law for every house who could afford one to have a toilet’ (Roshkar, V.S 4:26). Those without latrines said they used other methods, such as open defecation. Although (Pingale, M.P 6:24) comments that they are good and that ‘people use them, they are not in bad condition’. Others suggest that ‘they are not good as they are not clean’ (Jadhav, R. 9:42) and ‘It is a good idea but everyone has a different idea of cleanliness so sometimes they are not kept clean’ (Choudhari, B.W 16:24).

4.3.3 Prevalence of open defecation In a recent law, ‘The Grampanchayat has banned it, so no-one does it around here’ (Ratnabarki, S.S 11:25), with many other interviewees firmly stating that it does not happen in the village anymore (Jayatas, P.D 1:33) and (Dada, T 17:25). However, experience by the author and other interview results suggests otherwise. ‘Yes, people do. The Grampachayat brought in a law a year ago so it has reduced it with a Rr1200 fine. 90% of people have a latrine now as there is a Rr2,000 grant for latrine building’ (Rathed, S.M 13:25). ‘Some people around here do but that is only if they can’t afford their own, don’t have space for one or there isn’t enough water’ (Choudhari, R.D 15:26). Other interviewees admit that they have no other option as they do not have a latrine, saying simply, ‘yes, we do’ (Inamdas, S.H 14:25) and ‘We have to go outside. We own the house but not the land so we don’t have permission to build on it. No-one wants to help, the Grampanchayat won’t listen’ (Pancar, A 18:23).

4.3.4 Summary Without a centralised waste disposal system, or official solution to waste disposal, the village suffers as people provide a solution for themselves and deal with the problem in different ways. Figure 3. shows a photograph of the village high street and waste allowed to build up in the gutters. The village has seen a lot of development in the sanitation sector, with the majority of households owning or having access to a latrine. The success of this it seems has been due to a government incentive to improve the sanitation situation 26

within rural villages, through providing incentives to construct a household latrine. However, this problem is not completely solved as open defecation is still apparent, albeit on a smaller scale.

4.4 Biogas

4.4.1 General opinions on biogas The interview results suggest that biogas is an accepted technology, as the majority of interviewees had some level of knowledge and a positive opinion about it. This was not a common trend however, with a number of interviewees unsure about the technology, saying ‘I don’t know a lot about it’ (Pancar, A 18:27) and ‘I do not know what it is’ (Ratnabarki, S.S 11:27). (Jadhav, A.R 2:35) adds, ‘Don’t know much about it, no-one has told us about it. It is gas but don’t know much more’.

4.4.2 Acceptability of using human waste When confronted with the question ‘Is it acceptable for you to use gas produced from human waste (faeces)?’ the author received many different answers, to greater and lesser extremes. As highlighted in Table 1, ten interviewees viewed nightsoil as an acceptable input for a biogas digester, whilst twenty-two did not like the idea of it. ‘I do not want gas from human waste, it is dirty and I don’t like the idea’ (Jadhav, A.R 2:37). It is viewed differently from cow dung as ‘People’s minds don’t link it to dirty as it often is used for making houses and fertilizers. That is not the same with human waste’ (Rathed, S.M 13:29). Others take a middle ground, saying how it can be used for some things but not everything. ‘It is very bad that they use human waste. It is not good for cooking but lighting would be OK’ (Inamdas, H.S 14:29), ‘We don’t mind using it but the idea of using it for coking is not good’ (Choudhari, B.W 16:30) and ‘Yes, I feel I do if I produce it. Human waste should have a separate use for lights, but not for cooking’ (Rathed, S.M 13:31). Others however, are happy to accept the idea as (Sambhadas, R.S 8:30) suggests that ‘Not many people here understand what it is. Yes, it is acceptable’ and ‘Yes,

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according to my opinion it is fine’ (Kedar, C.A 12:29). (Pingale, E.K 20:30) sums up the majority of the farmer’s opinions with ‘I won’t do the human one, but I will with cattle’.

4.4.3 Towards an implementation project (Jayatas, D.P 1:37) notes that their HP fuel source is ‘Bought gas is from a human waste biogas plant so acceptable’. The biogas plant in Pune, a nearby city, distributes HP gas from a nightsoil fed biogas plant. This HP gas however, can be an unreliable energy source. ‘Biogas is your own and a regular source. Sometimes with HP gas they say they don’t have any and run out. It is not a big problem but it does happen’ (Pingale, E.K 20:27). He also adds that ‘Yes, I really want more [information], but if it was a group scheme then it would be cheaper. I would provide half but on my own it is too much’ (20:31). ‘For me it is not acceptable. If science says it is fine, then it is. The Maharashtran people don’t understand a lot so introducing new things to them is good’ (Dhole, R 19:29).

4.4.4 Problems towards an implementation project Many interviewees’ suggest a number of problems which may affect an implementation project. Some highlight how there are ‘Not enough persons in household to be interested in biogas’ (Jayatas, D.P 1:37), ‘It could be useful but we use HP gas and don’t have enough animals’ (Jadhev, R 9:28) and that ‘We have no cattle here, there is no point learning more. We won’t be able to use it’ (Choudhari, R.D 15:32). (Jadhav, A.R 2:39) does not see the relevance for biogas as ‘We can use the container gas, so there is no need for biogas. It is not relevant to us’ and (Roshkar, V.S 4:37) ‘We are used to using the canisters so we don’t need to change’. Others view the cost aspect as being important, as ‘I would be interested, it would be useful, but I don’t have the investment to start it off’ (Choudhari, B.W16:32), ‘It could be useful, but the cost is too great’ (Dada, T 17:28) and ‘Yes, if it is in my budget and if everyone else did it too’ (Pancar, A 18:32) adds.

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4.4.5 Summary Knowledge on biogas within the village is generally good, as most people know it is an energy source collected from animal dung, which has previously been used in the village. However, the idea of using human waste is new and not readily accepted. A number of problems have been highlighted which may hinder an implementation scheme, including acceptability, quantity of feed, cost and want to adopt the technology. (Jayatas, D.P 1:37) and (Dhole, R 19:29) indicate that education may be important in initiating and strengthening a project. (Pingale, M.P 6) provides a useful case study. The household were initially against biogas as they used the cattle dung as fertilizer on their fields. However, once they understood that the slurry waste from the generator could be used to the same affect, they were more open to the idea of a digester. They highlighted that cost was still a main deterrent.

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ID 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Head of H/H M M M M M M M M M M M M M F M M M F M M M M

Age 60 32 42 26 85 55 53 42 40 30 50 41 45 52 35 29 23 70 52 56

Size of Family 2 4 6 5 7 10 10 3 4 6 4 2 2 6 6 3 6 4 3 10 5 5

Land None Limited Available Available Limited Open Open Limited Available Open Limited Limited Limited None Available Available Available None Open Available Available Available

Employment Shopkeeper Housewife Housewife Student Business Farmer Librarian/farmer Student/shopkeeper Student Student Housewife Teacher Shopkeeper Housewife Housewife Farmer Farmer Tailor Farmer Farmer Teacher Farmer

Location Central Pabal Central Pabal Central Pabal Pabal Outsirts Central Pabal Outside Pabal Outside Pabal Central Pabal Pabal Outskirts Outside Pabal Central Pabal Central Pabal Central Pabal Central Pabal Outside Pabal Outside Pabal Outside Pabal Pabal Outskirts Outside Pabal Outside Pabal Outside Pabal Outside Pabal

Education Educated Educated Educated Educated Educated Poor Educated Educated Educated Educated Educated Educated Educated Poor Educated Poor Educated Educated Educated Educated Educated Educated

Fuel HP gas HP gas HP gas HP gas HP gas Wood + HP Wood + HP Everything HP gas HP gas HP gas HP gas HP gas HP gas HP gas Firewood HP gas HP gas HP gas HP gas HP gas HP gas

Livestock No No No No No Yes Yes No Yes No No No No No No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes

Latrine Indoor Outside Indoor Outside Indoor Outside Outside Indoor Outside Outside Outside Outside Indoor None Outside Outside Outside None Outside Outside Outside Outside

Human Waste Acceptable Not Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Not Acceptable Not Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Not Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Not Acceptable Not Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Not Acceptable Not Acceptable Not Acceptable Not Acceptable Not Acceptable Not Acceptable

Contribution N/A No N/A No N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A Yes Yes N/A N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes

Adoption N/A No Yes No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes N/A Yes Yes No N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes

Table 1. An overview of the interview results.

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Distribution of number of persons per household
8-10

1-4

5-7

Figure 6. The distribution of number of persons per household.

Acceptance of nightsoil
12 10 8 6 4 2 0 1 Acceptability Acceptable Not Acceptable

Number of households

Figure 7. Acceptance of nightsoil.

Biogas Adoption
14 Number of households 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 1 Willingness to adopt N/A Unwilling Willing

Figure 8. Biogas Adoption.

[Type text]

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4.5 Overview of Questionnaire Data Table 1. shows the overall results of the questionnaire data, including important aspects highlighted by Drake et al. (2009), and willingness to contribute and adopt. A table in the appendix provides the definitions for size of land and location. The results below are outlined with relation to Drake et al. (2009):

Gender of head of household Out of twenty-two households, twenty had a male head of house, 90.9% were male and only two had females.. However, the majority of the interviews were carried out with women and not done with the head of house. Age of head of household The mean age of the age of household is 45.9. Size of Land Three households were deemed to have no land available. Six households were deemed to have limited land available. Four households were deemed to have open space. Nine households were deemed to have available land. Size of household The average household size 5.1 persons per household, with 12 interviewees having a family size of five or greater. Figure 6. shows the distribution of people per household within the village. The majority of households are in the smaller group of 1-4 persons per household. Availability of cattle Eight households had cattle and fourteen did not. Should a nightsoil based biogas generator need supplementing, only a few households have livestock to do this with. Location Nine interviews were in the centre of Pabal, three were on the outskirts of Pabal and ten were outside Pabal, located in hamlets. Fuel Eighteen use HP gas, two use wood and HP gas, one used Firewood and one uses everything. Most people in Pabal use HP bottled gas as their main source of energy within the household.

[Type text]

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Contribution In six cases, it was not applicable as they were not interested, three said they would not contribute to the cost and twelve said they would contribute to the cost. The majority of people would be happy to make a contribution to the cost of instillation. Adoption Figure 8. shows the number of people willing to adopt the technology. In three cases it was not applicable, six were not interested (31.6%) and thirteen wanted to adopt the technology (68.4%). Although not every household is suited to biogas adoption, this majority to adopt is a positive strength towards an implementation project. Human Waste Figure 7. shows the number of people who find using human waste acceptable and the number who do not. Ten interviewees accepted nightsoil as a fuel input (45.5%) and twelve did not accept nightsoil as a fuel input (54.5%). This majority opposition towards utilising nightsoil is a negative impact towards an implementation project. The majority of interviewees did not like the idea of using human waste in a biogas generator.

4.6 Tailored Interview Results

4.6.1 Previous Biogas Schemes It is evident that there has previously been a government led scheme, in which subsidies were given to farmers as incentives to construct biogas generators. ‘20 years ago with the help of the government, biogas subsidies for farms started’ (Sarpanch a1). Initially, around one hundred people adopted the scheme (Jadhav B.N b), yet the majority of them are no-longer in use. There are a number of reasons for this, as it may be ‘Because they could not maintain them. The iron tank may have ended its lifespan and they can’t afford another one’. It is also evident that there was no government support after implementation for repair and maintenance, thus resulting in the reduction of working biogas generators today. ‘Those that have them left don’t know what to do as there is no help and support from the government scheme, no training’ (Chaudri Wasti c). Figures 9. and 10. show biogas generators from this previous scheme which are still operational, owned by a farmer and a teacher from Pabal. [Type text] 33

4.6.2 Future potential for Biogas Currently, there are no plans within the village, but this does not mean that there is not potential. ‘The concept is very big, no-one can follow it. It is good if someone can come here and show us how to do it and the benefits, but there is no idea here. We need a revelation to bring back these technologies’ (Sarpanch a3). ‘Maybe it is possible to have another scheme and maintain it, but the problem is that people are scattered’ (Jadhav B.N b). The previous scheme was promoted through newspapers and TV, thus attracting a lot of attention and becoming successful in the initial stages of development. ‘The subsidies are there, but no-one is here to teach us and set it up. 15-20 years ago it was a new concept, but no-one cares now’ (Sarpanch a3).

Figure 9. A local teacher’s biogas generator.

[Type text]

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Figure 10. A local farmer’s biogas generator.

4.7 Pilot Biogas Project

The set-up for the trial biogas scheme was successfully accomplished, with the following notes being taken:

After 15 days (05/07/09), the first batch of dung had created an amount of gas to the capacity of the digester. The pressure of the gas was sufficient for it to be released from the outlet at the source, yet was only flammable for a maximum of 10 seconds, with moisture being evident in the gas. There was not sufficient pressure to reach the kitchen initially and it was not flammable at the cooker. The gas was subsequently drained so a new batch could be generated. This will have a greater percentage of methane and therefore be more flammable as the bacteria have had more time to develop.

However, the Ashram informed the author that the pilot scheme did not continue due to the climate being cloudy all the time; hence not much biogas was produced and no results have been collected. The project will begin when the climate improves. This provides important information on how the climate can influence biogas generation.

[Type text]

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4.8 Overall Summary The results show a positive foundation for a biogas implementation project. The results cover various aspects important to biogas schemes and provide useful information on reasons why a project may or may not work. The interviews are helpful in achieving the thesis’s aims, to understand the sanitary situation in Pabal, to assess the appropriateness of the technology, and to include any important social or cultural influences relevant to the scheme. It is evident that certain parts of the community should be targeted and there will be more acceptability and greater success in different areas to others.

[Type text]

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5. Discussion

5.1 Introduction It is evident from the results that the previous government led biogas scheme had initial success in the provision of biogas digesters for farmers and villagers. They benefited from the free source of energy and fertilizer that subsequently went on their fields. However, due to a lack of education and maintenance, this scheme ended as the biogas generators fell into disrepair. Although a couple were lucky enough to keep theirs running, the majority of people had to revert to alternative sources of energy. It was highlighted that a lack of education and maintenance were paramount in the decline of the last government led scheme. The results indicate that biogas is an appropriate technology for Pabal as it is commonly accepted as a good source of fuel, with the majority of people having some understanding of it.

5.2 Review With a 68% of people interested in this technology, a case is already set to consider an implementation scheme. Furthermore, it was felt that of the 32% who were not interested in the technology, a number could be persuaded through education and promotion. The questionnaire aimed to understand the current situation and views within Pabal, rather than promote biogas. This was important for the aims and objectives, outlined previously. However, although the technology may be willingly adopted, there are numerous practical and socio-economic factors which need to be taken into consideration beforehand.

Primarily, the quantity of human and/or cattle waste available for the biogas digester is a major deciding factor in the practicality of any scheme. Without enough feed, the generator simply won’t produce gas. This divides the results into two important sectors: Those with enough feed from either household members or cattle, and those who do not have enough people to use the latrine or any cattle. With the average household having a family size of 5.1, and the requirements for a 1m³ rising-dome biogas digester run on night soil needing 8 people (UN guidebook 1980), the average family size is not large enough. There is potential however to supplement this with cattle dung, providing the household has livestock. From the results, there are only six [Type text] 37

households to which this would apply and only three households with eight or above family members.

The proposed solution aims to alleviate the problem of open defecation and poor sanitation through running a biogas generator on nightsoil. However, the results indicate that there is a majority resistance to this, as it is seen as unhygienic and dirty. A similar situation was experienced by Prakash (2005) in Bangladesh, as it was deemed unacceptable to utilize or certainly cook from gas produced by such a source. In Pabal, 55% of interviewees did not wish to use gas from a biogas generator run on human waste. Nightsoil run generators are a new concept in Pabal, and although the results are unfavourable, they are encouraging. A strong educational programme could highlight the benefits of biogas run on human waste, whilst also quelling any doubts about the hygienic standards of such a practice. ‘For me it is not acceptable. If science says it is fine, then it is. The Maharashtran people don’t understand a lot so introducing new things to them is good’ Dhole, R (19:29).

The availability of land was naturally varied from location to location, with some offering greater potential for implementation to others. Generally, the results were in favour of development, with only three households being limited spatially. Furthermore, many biogas digesters designed on a household level with limited space, removing the availability of land as an essential limitation.

Prakash (2005) outlines a complex relationship between age and gender of the head of household to the adoption of biogas. This would suggest that a male head of household may hold different views to it, often negative, compared to a female one. No correlation was found in the results to this view, even though the majority of the heads of household were male.

The average age was 45.9 years old, with the youngest being twenty three, and eldest eighty five. No correlation was seen here either between age and adoption. Furthermore, the mix of male and female interviewees is fair, and no correlation can be seen between adoption and sex. It was also noted that during interviews with either male or female partner, the other felt at ease to add comments and opinions to the interview, without any attached stigma. This suggests that there is no hierarchy [Type text] 38

between males and females and that females are not treated as a second class citizens. It is noted though that this is a small data set and any correlation may no be evident over greater results.

The majority of villagers in Pabal use HP gas as their main energy source, which costs Rs 200 per canister (14kg). There is a certain amount of apathy towards converting from one gas source to another, especially when the initial capital costs for investment is so high. A reliable, decentralized energy source could provide a suitable alternative to HP gas, yet the benefits of this need to be highlighted if the scheme is to be successful, as HP gas is convenient for many people.

Any biogas implementation project requires a certain amount of input from the beneficiary to instil a feeling of ownership and investment to promote sustainability. Users should be provided with basic orientation on various aspects of operation and maintenance such as proper feeding of the plant, optimal use of biogas, effective application of slurry and timely maintenance of plant components (Prakash 2005). Thus, the results are encouraging as 80% of interviewees who were interested said they would contribute to the initial cost. When a scheme with full information on the project is proposed, it is likely that those who were initially against contributing would, as the benefits would be seen.

The three criteria outlined by Bates (2007) which are important if an implementation scheme is to be successful are related to the results below:

1). Technically, the availability of sufficient raw feedstuffs is required, as well as a sufficient temperature of the digester and the skills and technical know-how. As the results show, sufficient feedstuff is currently an issue with regard to utilizing nightsoil and having enough members in a family to produce enough biogas. A scheme should focus on households with this potential, or ability to supplement their biogas generator. 2). Socially, it is more likely to succeed if there is a market for fertilizer, with the promotion and dissemination of benefits are needed if it to be accepted.

[Type text]

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The majority of farmers in Pabal require fertilizer for their fields, using dung cakes prepared from cattle dung, or artificial chemical fertilizer. There is evidently a market for fertilizer in Pabal. 3). Financially, set up costs can be relatively high so many may not be able to afford such a scheme, thus micro credit schemes are advised. If government subsidies are still available, then these need to be exploited for the project. A design needs to be made which is affordable and available to those with lower incomes.

5.3 Conclusions The aim of this project was to understand the current sanitary situation within Pabal, to assess the appropriateness of the technology; relating it to social and cultural influences, and to determine the suitability of a biogas development project in the village. The majority of results are in favour of an implementation project. However, the issue of quantity of feed and the use of nightsoil poses considerable opposition. This would suggest that a household level biogas generator run on night soil would be an impractical solution for a twofold reason: Households are not large enough to provide adequate feed for biogas generation, to which there is a lot of social stigma and opposition to such a fuel source. To this end, it is evident that a human waste disposal project need to be tailored to those with enough human or animal waste, along with other practicalities as stated above.

It is paramount that an education program coincides with this, to highlight the benefits of the project and provide information on long-term maintenance and sustainability. Ideally, a follow up project would ensure this. ‘24 years ago people here used to use gobar gas. We need the old technologies again but they have been lost. Once they got old we could not replace and maintain them. We need to go back to them’ Pingale, E.K (20:4). Biogas is not an uncommon technology in Pabal. It needs reinvigorating with a strong development project, designed to meet the aims highlighted throughout this thesis, and offer support through education and maintenance.

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6. Recommendations

6.1 Introduction This thesis has outlined numerous elements important in the start-up, implementation and success of a biogas project, with specifics to Pabal. The information collected here will be useful in planning an implementation project and developing biogas within the region.

6.2 Elements to be reviewed It is firstly imperative that the pilot scheme at Vigyan Ashram is re-instated and results are collected from this. It will be important to review local conditions and tailor a design to the specifications outlined by the results. Jo Read’s design needs to be reviewed and ideally constructed in Pabal to run similar a similar project to the initial pilot scheme, and outline its strengths and weaknesses.

It is evident that a project which utilizes nightsoil will not be immediately met with a warm reception. The concept of using human waste for a biogas fuel could either be overcome through an education program, or through using the fuel to provide an alternative end product, like street lighting. This has been suggested by a number of households as Pabal currently has no street lights.

Clear beneficiary targets need to be made to which the scheme should focus, using the results produced here. Although the amount of data is currently limited, the basic requirements are highlighted. The NGO should identity target groups and the community development necessary to enable the group to acquire the capabilities to take and run energy service schemes (Reddy and Srinivas 2009).

Furthermore, the importance of providing training and orientation for biogas implementation has previously been highlighted throughout this thesis. Any potential scheme cannot underestimate education and continual support, and it is highly recommended that these be included in the project.

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It is suggested that another biogas scheme be implemented, at least for rural farmers, if not for the village as a whole. As most people have personal latrines and the communal ones are not particularly popular, it seems that a community scheme or a sharing scheme would not be appropriate, yet this can still be considered by the Grampanchayat. The use of human waste appears to be more successful when it is associated with and institution such as a school or hospital rather than an individual household (Bates 2007). Although the price of biogas digesters have increased, government grants are still available, yet capital for the scheme needs to be developed. There are many routes an implementation plan can take, and it will have support from the community as they have shown their enthusiasm towards it. Promotion, education, maintenance and sustainability are crucial in a successful implementation project, and these need to be considered.

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APPENDIX

SIZE OF LAND None There is no room for any form of digester Limited Open Available A smaller design could potentially be considered A digester could be installed Available space is not an issue

LOCATION Central Pabal Pabal Outskirts Outside Pabal

Along or near the highstreet At the fringe of the village, near the main roads Usually one of the hamlets

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