Sat, Mar 09, 2013 - Page 8 News List

Biogas a viable energy alternative

By Du Yu 杜宇

However, the wastewater, other waste products and noxious odors created during the breeding process have often drawn the ire of the public. In many rural areas, excrement from pig pens end up in septic tanks, which are then flushed out into rivers without being processed, causing severe pollution.

To solve this problem, the government tried promoting biogas electricity generation by providing equipment subsidies. However, the results fell short of expectations due to limitations in technology, equipment, scale and funding and the relatively low price of other types of electricity. With few farmers willing to adopt this model, the government stopped promoting this policy.

A Danish expert visiting Taiwan recently to provide assistance said that Taiwan is 40 years behind Denmark in terms of excrement processing technology, with equipment used to collect biogas easily breaking down, making biogas generation more difficult.

Making biogas an energy source for industrial use requires more comprehensive planning and cooperation between industry and academia to improve research and development on production technologies, such as raising the electricity transformation ratio from pig excrement biogas and developing equipment suitable to the scale of Taiwan’s animal husbandry industry.

There is also a need to train biogas technicians, establish a good service system, set up value chain clusters, draw up supporting measures and regulations to encourage farmers and educate the public about the industry. This would help make biogas electricity production one of the nation’s main sources of electricity, while also improving environmental and economic conditions in rural areas.

What is the government waiting for?

Du Yu is a member of the Chen-Li task force for Agricultural Reform.

Translated by Drew Cameron

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