Uganda to install 50,000 small scale bio-digesters to mitigate its energy needs

By Zulfah Namatovu

Hon.Peter Lokeris, the State Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Peter Lokeris has told a three day conference in Munyonyo- 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.

Uganda is currently implementing the African Biodigester Component Project (ABC) that targets the construction and installation of 50,000 small-scale biodigesters by 2025. Experts anticipate that the project will result in energy access for at least 25000 people and will reduce annual carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by over 180,000 tons.

The African Biodigester Component Project in Uganda was introduced in the country in 2021 aiming to support the growth and sustainability of a commercial biodigester sector in Uganda.

Energy experts from five Sub-Saharan countries of Burkina-Faso, Mali, Kenya, and Niger have converged in Kampala for a knowledge-exchange meeting to advance biodigester technology on the African continent.

A biodigester technology or system utilizes organic waste, particularly animal and human to produce fertilizer and biogas.

ABC Uganda aims at promoting the scaling of biodigester technology towards agricultural value chains both tangible in terms of increased agricultural production and more intangible benefits such as reducing exposure to indoor pollution, long term soil improvement and carbon capture.

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.

Phomolo Maphosa, the Country Director of SNV Netherlands Development Organization 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 mechanisms 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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