Impacts of Small-Scale Biogas Technology on Energy Access in Egypt
Across low- and middle-income countries, cooking fuel expenditures represent a large share of households’ budgets, crowding out health and educational expenditures. Simultaneously, many rural areas lack the infrastructure to deal with agricultural waste disposal. The use of small-scale biogas digesters, fuelled by agricultural waste, may represent a solution for both the provision of clean cooking fuel as well as an environment-friendly way of waste disposal. Moreover, biogas digesters may also yield fertilizers of better quality, improving agricultural output. However, adoption rates of biogas digesters among rural households have remained low, in part because of high construction costs that make it prohibitively expensive for credit-constrained households.
This project aims to understand why the adoption of biogas digesters is low, despite the potential benefits in terms of energy expenditures, health, and quality of fertilizers. We will use the pilot funds for two main research activities aiming at a better understanding of the barriers to the adoption of biogas digesters, and whether information and credit constraints are indeed the key determining factors of the take-up of the technology. The activities include qualitative interviews as well as a large survey and survey experiment.