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Yale University

Publication Date

Fall 2014

Program Name

Madagascar: Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management


The rural commune of Ankarimbelo is located on the edge of the Ikongo Rainforest Corridor in southeastern Madagascar. The commune’s remote location, an increasing population, and the prohibition of farming in the rainforest corridor have contributed to extreme poverty. In an attempt to mitigate these effects, the Malagasy NGO Ny Tanintsika has implemented an essential oils distillation plant as an alternative livelihood project. While the project may provide needed income to local populations, thereby diverting destructive agriculture practices such as tavy, or slash-and-burn agriculture, the distillation of essential oils still requires that firewood be burned. Over the course of one year, between 700,000 and 111,000 kilograms of wood could be consumed. While Ny Tanintsika is investing in a sustainable Eucalyptus plantation in the commune, establishing a biogas plant as an alternative fuel source could benefit the local environment and population. This study evaluated the mechanical and social feasibility of using biogas at the essential oils plant. In particular, it determined the proportion of the energy demand that biogas produced from local biomass sources could meet. The results indicate that in the extreme case in which the still’s energy demand is maximized and biogas production is minimized, biogas could meet 4% of total energy demand. However, in less extreme cases, in which biogas production is larger or still energy use is less, biogas may be able to meet most or all of the energy demand. Moreover, the local population supported the creation of a biodigester.


Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Natural Resources and Conservation | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Oil, Gas, and Energy


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