RedBioLAC

Network of Biodigesters for Latin America and the Caribbean (RedBioLAC)

RedBioLAC is a consolidated and very active network of individuals and organisations involved in applied research, implementation and advocacy on biodigesters. Their aim is to contribute to the proper management of natural resources while promoting socio-economic wellbeing in Latin American and Caribbean.

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13th Encuentro of RedBioLAC

News from WISIONS posted on November 3rd, 2021

Our regional partnership network RedBioLAC held their 13th Encuentro (Annual Meeting) from the 26th to 28th of October. It took place as an online event due to COVID and was broadcasted live. The goal was to share expertise as well as practical advice about the implementation, long term success and potential of biogas and biodigesters for Latin America and the Caribbean.Read moreMinimize
For more detailed information about the Encuentro visit their Website.

One aspect, that ran through the event was the question what role the local communities play for the long term success of biodigesters. It was stated that the active involvement of locals from the start is a necessary step to establish an acceptance of the technologies. This is vital, because the local communities are usually involved in maintaining the structures and therefore guarantee the longevity of the technologies. To achieve this acceptance, biodigester implementation must focus on the individual needs as well as the specific socioeconomic, cultural and technical conditions. This is especially relevant for the implementation of domestic biodigesters, who are a promising technology due to their relatively low consultancy cost.

At the same time, the empowering potential of biodigesters for women was highlighted e.g. by the good practice example of the implementation of more than 18,000 biodigesters in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda. Women played a vital role in the adoption and extensive training for users, technicians, masons and supervisors to ensure quality control of biodigesters. To fulfill the empowering potential in those technologies, it needs public policy support, which also allows for a wide dissemination.

Besides the socioeconomic aspects, the event also discussed the technical side of biodigesters. The intertwining of production processes and biodigesters, a revaluation of waste and wastewater treatment plants were highlighted cornerstones on the way towards a circular bio economy. Also highlighted was the technology of anaerobic waste systems that provide sustainable energy as well as nutrients, while being relatively low cost and therefore are a viable option especially in rural areas.

If you want to learn more about one of the topics, you can rewatch the entire Encuentro on YouTube!

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Upcoming events

The 11th Annual Conference of RedBioLAC ("Encuentro RedBioLAC") will take place from 14 – 18 October 2019 in Varadero, Cuba. More information available here.

You can find information on upcoming RedBioLAC webinars here: RedBioLAC webinar series




Introduction

Biodigesters can help to improve the livelihoods of rural households in the Global South in different ways. They allow treating flows of organic waste, thereby improving the in-farm management of soil. The by-product of the treatment is biogas, a combustible gas which can replace other unsustainable fuels. Additionally the effluent and sludge produced by the process are of great value as organic fertilizer. In Latin America and the Caribbean, there is a long history of initiatives which have adapted, tested and further developed small and medium-sized biogas technologies. However, back in 2009, avenues for exchanging experiences were almost non-existent, especially for practitioners active in the field.

RedBioLAC came into existence in 2009, following a WISIONS SEPS project (Biogas Digester Innovations In Latin America), which focused on sharing experiences on the use of biodigesters in Latin America. This first exchange gave impetus to the idea of establishing a network to promote knowledge sharing between research, development and advocacy groups involved with biogas technologies in Latin America and the Caribbean. The network was formalised at a meeting in 2010 in Costa Rica.

Vision & Goals

RedBioLAC’s vision is to become the leading organisation providing research, development, implementation and advocacy in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) for the use of biodigesters to stimulate the sustainable management of natural resources and promote people’s socioeconomic wellbeing in LAC.
RedBioLAC’s brings together institutions related to applied research and the dissemination of anaerobic biodigestion to achieve the following objectives:


  • Exchange information, knowledge and experiences among participating institutions
  • Identify and overcome technical, environmental, social and economic barriers in the field of biogas
  • Propose projects, mechanisms and ideas to disseminate biodigester technology within LAC
  • Generate alliances that facilitate the adoption of biodigester technology
  • Systematise research and disseminate findings among partners, and share insights with related fields including health, financing, policy, education, industry and marketing
  • Promote the inclusion of other organisations, institutions and researchers in the field of biodigesters
  • Promote actions to advocate and influence policies related to biodigesters

Activities

RedBioLAC is a very active platform for knowledge exchange, development and dissemination. This is achieved via diverse methods and activities, specifically through the annual conference, annual magazine, e-learning, online library and forum. Additionally, two areas of activity fostering knowledge creation and dissemination have emerged recently: working groups and a student internship programme. Find more about these activities below.

Annual Event and magazine

The annual conference provides a dynamic opportunity for interaction between experts, relevant stakeholders and interested audiences in general. The conference format entails not only presentations and discussions about the latest developments, but also training courses on basic biogas technologies and field visits.

2018 marked the 10th Annual RedBioLAC Conference, which took place from 17 – 21 September 2018 in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. A video summarising the conference is available on Facebook, along with photos of the event.

Since 2017 the network has published an annual magazine to showcase academic research, case studies, scientific groups, technical factsheets and advertise projects, programmes, companies, and services on biogas.
You can download RedBioLAC’s magazines here.

Online Platform and Library

Of the network's online tools, the discussion forum is the liveliest area for interaction, with more than 900 participating subscribers. Almost 500 topics are available on the forum, providing a rich source of knowledge on anaerobic digestion as applied in the region

A broad variety of publications on a number of topics can be found in the online library.

Knowledge exchange

Topic-specific working groups aim to involve network members in the development of collaborative projects in order to address specific knowledge gaps (e.g. technical issues, management monitoring and impact assessment) or to strengthen collaboration at sub-regional levels (e.g. the ‘southern cone’, the ‘Andean countries’, the Caribbean states and Central America).

The student internship programme aims to facilitate and support applied research on topics relevant to network members by involving students at the advanced stage of their studies. This serves to address knowledge gaps, while simultaneously contributing to international knowledge-sharing and capacity-building of the next generation of experts and decision-makers.


Coordination & Support

The network is supported by several organisations, one of which is the WISIONS initiative. The coordination of the RedBioLAC is led by Mariela Pino (left). 

The network's secretariat is run by the organisation GreenEmpowerment.