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close this bookBioconversion of Organic Residues for Rural Communities (UNU, 1979)
close this folderStrategies for developing small-scale fermentation processes in developing countries
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Discussion summary

A critical factor in biogas production is the efficiency with which stored solar energy can be converted to usable methane, and it was stated that simple modifications of existing techniques could at least double methane production.

There was some criticism of the principle of evaluating processes on the basis of cost/benefit ratio. This was linked to the difficulty of attempting forward projections in this area, since too much attention to economics, as understood in industrialized societies, could be prejudicial to the initiation of processes. For example, in Marseilles, the energy generated by a sewerage plant serving one million people is just enough to operate the plant, no more.

In the selection of any strategy, it is necessary to consider both economics and logic. Finally, the selection must rest on a personal judgment of the balance between the two that a particular set of circumstances would justify. This prompted the comment from Seshadri that, in his view, a conflict between advanced and so-called "appropriate" technology is imminent because the latter now tends to replace the former. Increasing attention is being given to technology appropriate for the ecologic and economic conditions, particularly in various rural areas in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.