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Mar 07, 2018

Simgas changing lives with renewable energy

Johnson Muraguri a retired CMC engineer left work two years ago to pursue farming full time. Before his retirement, he spent a substantial amount of time on the internet feeding his curiosity on biogas. “I was very interested in how biogas worked so I continued to gather information on it and bumped into Simgas on the internet,” said Muraguri.

“The company had good reviews on their installations and I wanted to settle on a reputable firm.”

He also weighed between having the usual biogas domes and the plastic one and settled on the latter which he could easily manage with his engineering skills.

His elder brother Wandeto took the liberty of inviting him to one of the farmer training meetings by Simgas in Karatina, Nyeri County. His brother already has a system which was installed in 2014. After much convincing, Muraguri finally had the system installed in August 2015. Having three cows on his farm provided the best opportunity to generate biogas.

Since the installation, Muraguri noted that he has not looked back. “How I wish I had taken the leap of faith earlier,” he noted.

“My wife’s cooking experience has transformed. She no longer has to go looking for firewood or struggle in a smoky kitchen.”

Apart from the biogas, Muraguri has been using the slurry as a fertilizer for his farm. This has improved the yields from his farm. He does not use any other chemical fertilizer or pesticides.

“The smell of the slurry has also helped wade off moles which have been a nuisance,” noted Muraguri. The bio slurry is a good pest repellant and has a lifespan of four years on the farm before reapplication.

Simgas limited has been in the business of installing plastic biogas systems since 2013. The company has clientele in Tanzania and India. In Mt. Kenya region, Simgas has installed over 700 systems in Meru, Nyeri and Karatina.  The company trains the farmers on how to use and maintain the system and make use of the the bio slurry. The company is working with 1400 farmers.

Some of the benefits of using biogas include saving money on fuel, clean cooking experience, managing household waste, organic fertilizer and conserving the environment.

The Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) has supported them with business advisory services as well as Proof of Concept grant to pilot 10 RMC systems. These are for monitoring the digestors that they have installed. It measures the flow rate of the gas as well as the quality of the gas produced. The gadget acts as a meter whereby if the client defaults on payment, the biogas system can be switched off remotely.

“We are working on making improvements to the digester by increasing the storage capacity on the upper chamber so that gas does not escape when the weather is too hot,” noted George Mwangi, Sales Representative at Simgas.

As compared to most biogas firms, their response rate is within 24 hours. Simgas gives a five-year warranty after installation. Muraguri adds that the company has been very hands on with technical assistance and encourages other surrounding farmers to have the biogas system installed for a stress free cooking experience and free fertilizer.

 

By Mercy Mumo

 

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