Socio Economic Evaluation and Feasibility Assessment of Small Scale Biogas Units for Rural Communities in Palestine

Discussion Committee: 
. Prof. Dr Marwan Haddad / Supervisor
Dr. Nidal Mahmoud / External Examiner
Dr.Imad Ibrik / Internal Examiner
Prof. Dr Marwan Haddad / Supervisor
Dania Mohammad Faiz Mohammad Saeed Maraka
Any green energy utilizing scheme should support environmental sustainability, economic feasibility and social acceptability. The aim of this research study is to evaluate the economic feasibility and social acceptability of using floating tank biogas units at the household level in Palestine. In order to evaluate social acceptability, a social survey was performed to evaluate Palestinians knowledge, acceptance and trends toward biogas technology. In addition to that, practical experiments were performed on a floating tank biogas unit in order to estimate the biogas production from different waste mixtures , and perform economic feasibility study. The social survey results indicated that 80% of the participants have known about biogas technology especially through schools and universities. Results have also shown positive trends in awareness toward biogas technology (average percentage, 80%). Most farmers are willing to use biogas technology in their farms or homes if it has a financial profit (average percentage, 85.8%), but they also think that operating a biogas unit in the house or farm will require a lot of time and effort (average percentage, 56.6%). There is a good level of acceptance and willing to use biogas technology but with some insurance such as providing support and help in terms of unit maintenance and operation. So, it seems that people do not have experience with the system. The experiment was conducted using 1500 L floating tank biogas unit. Four different waste mixtures were tested for their biogas production in a continuous flow system. Results obtained from this experiment show that the highest biogas yields during 16 days of experiment are respectively sheep manure (22.9 kg), cow manure (22.6 kg), poultry manure (20.8 kg) and food residues mixed with cow manure (19 kg). Non-linear procedure analysis was used to create a model of gas quantity produced as a function of mixture type, temperature and time. And a plot of measured versus predicted biogas quantity was drawn. An experiment was performed in order to estimate a conversion factor for the family requirements of biogas if it replaced LPG. Results of the experiment show that the conversion factor is 3; this means that the 12 kg bottle of LPG is equivalent to 36 kg of biogas. This should cover on average 70% of the Palestinian family needs of cooking fuel. In the economic evaluation of the biogas unit, the initial investment to construct a floating tank biogas unit is 1100 NIS and the monthly running cost is 12 NIS. The simple payback period is 1 year if the fertilizer is sold in the market and 2 years if the fertilizer is not sold. In recommendations, it is encouraged to use biogas technology in rural Palestinian areas were feedstock is available and biogas unit outputs are usable. It is also recommended to carry out promotional programs aiming at educating people at rural areas about benefits of biogas technology.
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