Cows to Kilowatts

Turning waste into energy to generate income for poor communities
2005 SEED Award Winner Green Technologies Ibadan, Nigeria

Greenhouse gas emission and pollution are two serious environmental side-effects of abattoirs across the developing world. Abattoir effluent critically impacts human health, agriculture, potable water and the ecology of aquatic species and has become a significant problem for many urban communities in Nigeria. There are currently no waste treatment plants for abattoirs in Nigeria, legislation for the protection of water sources is inadequate, and there is no clearly established, coordinated policy framework to tackle water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Therefore, a local NGO and a community-based organization together with technology innovators from Thailand and the Sustainable Ibadan Project are turning these wastes into energy to generate income for poor urban communities and reduce the gases linked with climate change. The ‘Cows to Kilowatts’ project, located in Ibadan (Nigeria), centres on the construction of a biogas plant and waste-water treatment facility to run on abattoir waste so creating a cheap source of domestic energy, abating pollution and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. The plant treats wastewater and produces biogas (mainly methane and carbon dioxide) using the anaerobic fixed film (AFF) biogas technology.

Eco-inclusive impacts

Next to biogas, the plant produces electricity and organic fertiliser from the reactor’s sludge. The pilot plant in Ibadan is the first in the world to simultaneously treat abattoir effluent and provide domestic energy and organic fertiliser.
  • These two products are expected to benefit about 5000 households and about 15,000 low-income farmers monthly for 15 years (the productive lifetime of the biogas plant).

  • Urban poor women and low-income farmers profit from a cheaper price. The biogas is sold at about 25% of the prevailing market price of natural gas; the fertiliser is sold to urban low-income farmers at 10% of the usual market price of chemical fertiliser.
  • Producing biogas and electricity which is much cleaner than kerosene and wood, the main products that are currently used for cooking and heating.


This enterprise is supported through its partnerships with various stakeholders, ranging from national and international organisations, investors, research institutes, suppliers, governmental bodies, NGOs, other social and environmental enterprises and more.

Global Network for Environment and Economic Development Research, Nigeria (NGO) 

Biogas Technology Research Centre, KMUTT, Thonburi, Thailand (Research Institute)

Centre for Youth, Family and the Law, Nigeria (Community-based Organization)

Sustainable Ibadan Project, Nigeria (UN-HABITAT Programme)

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