By Dominic Ochola
Energy experts from five Sub-Saharan countries of Bukina-Faso, Mali, Kenya, and Niger have converged in Kampala for a knowledge-exchange meeting to advance biodigester technology on the African continent.
Abiodigester technology or system utilizes organic waste, particularly animal and human excreta, to produce fertilizer and biogas. The technology aims at promoting clean, and affordable cooking solutions in any rural or urban area.
The technology is particularly useful on family farms that have livestock as a source of organic matter, cultivation areas on farms where fertilizer can be used to improve soil fertility, and living quarters that can use biogas.
Dubbed the African Biodigester Component – ABC, a four-year project funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs aims to develop and strengthen demand, supply, and the enabling environment to create sustainable biodigester markets in the five implementing countries.
The ABC project targets the construction and installation of 50,000 small-scale biodigesters by 2025. The experts anticipate that the project will result in energy access for at least 250,00 people, and will reduce yearly carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by over 180,000 tons.
While officiating at the opening of the three-day meeting that commenced on Tuesday, Peter Lokeris, the State Minister of Energy and Mineral Development told the experts that in Uganda, 89.9% of the primary energy is supplied from Biomass.
Lokeris explained that the use of biomass especially woody biomass is still facing unsustainable exploitation and utilization, thus posing a challenge to users and the environment.
“There is, therefore, a great need for all stakeholders to support efforts aimed at the sustainable use of the resource, as a bridge, while we spearhead the Energy Transition agenda for our respective countries.” Said Lokeris.
Phomolo Maphosa, the Country Director of SNV Netherlands Development Organisation in Uganda says they have implemented over 10,000 biodigesters within Uganda over time and expect to contribute at least 8,000 small-scale biodigester systems by 2026.
Julius Gitonga, the Deputy Director of Renewable Energy under the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum in neighboring Kenya said there are currently about 90 active companies, most of which are registered in the biodigester industry though with limited outreach.
Gitonga called on the project implementers to explore more options to develop bankable business proposals to present to commercial banks, especially for larger units as well as specific end-users financing mechanism to advance the technology and conserve the environment.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, the majority population is highly dependent on Biomass as a main source of energy for cooking and industrial heat processes.
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