Are smallholder farmers willing to pay for a flexible balloon biogas digester? Evidence from a case study in Uganda

Moris Kabyanga, Bedru B Balana (Corresponding Author), Johnny Mugisha, Peter N. Walekhwa, Jo Smith, Klaus Glenk

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18 Citations (Scopus)
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Biogas technology, as a pro-poor renewable energy source, has
been promoted in Uganda through the use of fixed dome and floating drum
digester designs. However, these designs have proved to be too expensive
for the average Ugandan to afford. A cheaper flexible balloon digester
has been proposed to increase uptake. However, there has been lack of
evidence on household's willingness to pay (WTP) for the flexible balloon
digester. Primary data were obtained from survey of experimental
households and 144 non-biogas households in central Uganda. A logistic
regression model was used to estimate household's WTP and determine the
factors that influence WTP. Results reveal that the majority of surveyed
households showed their WTP, but an average household's maximum WTP
(US$52) was ten times less than the actual cost of an imported digester
unit (US$512). The results further indicate that household size, cost of
fuelwood, and a household's perception on technology significantly
influenced the WTP. Thus, government and NGOs interested in promoting
this design should pay due attention on ensuring the availability of
affordable flexible balloon digester from local sources. Otherwise, focus
should be on promoting either different biogas designs or alternative
affordable renewable energy technologies rather than the flexible balloon
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-129
Number of pages7
JournalEnergy for Sustainable Development
Early online date3 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by the UK DFID grant on ‘The New and Emerging Technologies Research Competition (NET-RC) initiative (Grant No. DFID NET-RC A06502). We gratefully acknowledge the financial support from DFID. We also extend our thanks to the households participated in the survey. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of DFID or the affiliated organizations.


  • biogas
  • willingness to pay
  • flexible balloon digester
  • Uganda


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