Biogas plants constitute a widely disseminated branch of technology that came into use more than
30 years ago in Third World countries. There are hundreds of thousands of simple biogas plants
now in operation, and each one of them helps improve the living and working conditions of people in
While this guide deals only with biogas systems of simple design, the technology is nonetheless
sufficiently complex and rewarding to warrant one's close attention to its proper application,
planning and construction. The only good biogas system is a well-planned, carefully executed and
properly functioning one that fulfills its purpose.
This guide addresses the planners and providers of stock-farming and agricultural-extension
services in developing countries. It is intended to serve as:
- a source of information on the potentials of and prerequisites for biogas technology,
- a decision-making and planning aid for the construction and dissemination of biogas plants
- a book of reference for information on practical experience and detailed data.
While consulting experts, extension officers and advisors with little experience in biogas technology
will find this guideline useful as an initial source of information, biogas practicians can use it as a
hands-on manual. The tables and engineering drawings contained herein provide standard values
for practical application. They were compiled from numerous extraneous and proprietary works of
reference and then modified as necessary for practical use. The informational content draws chiefly
on the latest know-how and experience of numerous associates involved in the various biogas
projects of the GTZ Special Energy Program and the GATE/GTZ Biogas Extension Program, of L.
Sasse and a great many Third World colleagues and, last but not least, OEKOTOP's own project
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our colleagues for their cooperation and the
constructive criticism that attended the writing of this handbook. Our appreciation also to GATE and
the GTZ division Animal Production, Animal Health and Fisheries, who made this guideline
possible. Special thanks also to Klaus von Mitzlaff for the section on gas-driven engines and to Uta
Borges for her special elaboration of the aspects economic evaluation, social acceptance and
We wish every success to all users of this guide. Feedback in the form of suggestions and criticism
is gratefully welcomed.
The OEKOTOP Authors