12. Diffusion of biomass energy technologies in developing countries.
Publ. by National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., ISBN 0-309-03 442-6, 1984, 95 pp. + bibliography
This report is concerned with the factors that influence the introduction and diffusion of selected biomass-based renewable energy technologies in developing countries.
This book is also based on visits to seventeen developing countries in the course of this study to observe renewable energy projects. The countries are: Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Fiji, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Mauritania, Papua New Guinea, People's Republic of China, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, and Upper Volta. Selected observations based on these visits are incorporated into this report.
The technologies discussed in this book include the generation of biomass through fuelwood plantations and agroforestry and the use of biomass in improved cooking stoves, charcoal manufacture, thermal gasification, and the production of biogas and fuel alcohol. These were selected because of their relevance to agricultural productivity and the dependence of the poor on biomass as an energy source.
For each of these technologies, the technical, economic, social, and cultural factors affecting their introduction and diffusion are considered.
The report also covers the nature of the diffusion process, energy and development, needs of the rural and urban poor, the characteristics of the technologies, and their feasibility and acceptability by the poor.
Further, developing country experience with these technologies is briefly described, followed by conclusions and recommendations.
The term diffusion applies both to dissemination of information about a new technology and dissemination of the technology itself; for instance, new cooking stoves.
Meeting the energy needs of a country through biomass-based technologies will not in itself significantly reduce a nation's petroleum use. Most of the poor already rely heavily on biomass sources - firewood, charcoal, agricultural residues, and dung - and will probably continue to do so. The value of the various technologies described lies in increasing the availability of the materials currently in use, ensuring that they are used effectively, and providing alternative employment opportunities.
New technologies that mesh with indigenous systems of resource allocation, work organization, goods distribution, social and authority structures, and prevailing values and religious beliefs have the best chance for success.
Concluding, it can be stated amongst other that:
- All biomass-based energy technologies have inherent limitations in supplying national energy needs, and it is difficult for planners to make informed judgements about appropriate mixes of these technologies for different situations.
Development assistance and funding agencies require predominantly economic information on the returns from investment in the proposed projects. To make assessments of funding needs for these technologies, however, technical feasibility studies will be required to provide data on benefits and returns at both the national and community level.
Technical and sociocultural details, in addition to economic data, will be necessary.
1143 92 - 5/119
Review, book, case studies, Asia, India, Philippines, Bangladesh,
Africa, Sudan, Ethiopia, Mali, projects, developing countries, international cooperation, guidelines, IFAD
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