Friday December 8 2017

Government moves to manufacture biogas for electricity

By Paul Adude


The acting commissioner renewable energy in the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Mr Wilson Wafula, has said government is set to start manufacturing electricity from bio-gas.
“Government is to start producing bio gas for electricity in three selected pilot project areas of Kampala, Mbarara and Jinja districts where we will put in place power plants with the ability to produce 1 megawatt of power,” he said.
Mr Wafula made the remarks during a media breakfast meeting in Kampala recently between officials from the Energy, Agriculture, Environment sectors, Biogas Solutions Uganda Limited (BSUL) and SNV.
He said the project, under the ministry’s NAMA programme, selected the areas basing on their high bid diversity wastes levels.
“We have found out that biogas is commercially viable thus we no longer need to do demonstrations in homes so we are planning to move in that direction, we may have been slow due to financing technology and more issues but we are moving that way. It is proven technology that can yield an income generating venture as you get biogas at the same time,” he said.
Mr Wafula further said there is an ongoing policy review to enable creation of a conducive environment for people to invest in the biogas sector and help in the promotion of bio gas technology.
Ms Peace Kansiime, the sector leader SNV, however noted that although the sector had a viable sustainable commercial service and recently signed a Shs80m contract with NARO, it still faced a challenge of lack of money for proper investment.
“A bio- digester that provides for moderate cooking and lighting a day costs between Shs1.8m to Shs2.2m, an amount that is out of reach for most of the rural families in Uganda,” she said.
Mr Michael Mivule, the programme coordinator at BSUL, said more than 8,000 biogas digesters are needed in Ugandan homesteads which will not only save energy but bring about clean cooking by reducing on the number of trees being cut down for firewood. “To make it more affordable there is need to get the cost of bio digester down by 25 per cent and welcome more biogas companies to participate in the country,” he said.
Dr Nambatya Nsubuga, the proprietor of Kwagala Farm, manufacturers of the green fingers and green energy said that the sector had great revenue potential for the country.
“I have been able to make yearly savings in energy of $1500 (Shs 5,463,351) and a gross return on investment of $30,000 (Shs109.3m) through exports of products like Kwagala Bio Soil Boost which costs Shs10,000,” she said.