Biomass technology reduces expenditure on energy at Nyabyeya Forestry College

Students doing biomass energy technology practical lessons at Nyabyeya Forestry College in Masindi District recently.

(Photo: John Kibego)

Nyabyeya Forestry College in Masindi District is working towards generating more electricity from wood residue, reveals Mr Benedict Waniyala, manager for the biomass department and tutor at the college.

Reports indicate that power generated from trashed timber reduces expenditure that the institution incurs in procuring diesel for running various power appliances at the college.

Biomass energy technology helps the institution to save 3.5 litres of diesel worth Shs12, 000 per hour that would be consumed by an ordinary generator.

Save for the lucrative financial value to the college, the technology also helps to protect the environment since biomass energy is renewable and harmless to climate compared to the use of petroleum.

Mr Waniyala told this website that Nyabyeya Forestry College is ably producing 66 kilowatts of the energy to meet power demand for all electronic appliances like computers at the institution.

“We use five litres of diesel per hour when the engine is entirely relying on fossil fuel. But we use 20 percent when they activate their biomass system meaning that 20 litres are saved.”

Waniyala on saving

The forestry college now looks forward to improving its power production so they can be able to supply neighbouring villages that degrade Budongo Forest Reserve in search of firewood and charcoal fuel.

The process

Mr Waniyala says the technology is affordable explaining that in order to produce biomass energy, one has to buy a special generator and a trolley. Wood chopping is then burnt like any other person can set fire at their home. Through a trolley, a simple process takes place to generate energy.

Mr Waniyala urges the public to embrace the technology given its enormous benefits.

“People should embrace it [technology] because it promotes tree planting, provides an opportunity for wood production, conserves the environment and finally saves money compared to the use of generators that entirely rely on fossil fuel that affects climate and hydro-electricity.

Waniyala explaining

The story runs as Uganda badly looks around for solutions to save a number of hydro-power dams including Kabalega and Nyangak in Hoima and Paidha districts respectively that are at the verge of breaking down over badly fluctuating water volumes following the degradation of river banks by farmers and settlers.

Mr James Baanabe Isingoma, Director for Energy Resources in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development hailed Nyabyeya Forestry College for the initiative.

He said government is working towards promoting renewable sources of energy especially solar.

Speaking to the General Assembly last month, the United Nations Secretary General, Mr Antonio Guterres, identified climate change and its impact of global warming, as some of the major challenges of the 21st century.

He called upon governments to promote renewable energy to curb environmental degradation.

The numbers

According to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at the launch of Biomass Energy Strategy for Uganda (BEST) in 2013, close to 100 percent of rural households and 98 percent of urban households use biomass energy for cooking.

About 90 percent of the total primary energy consumption is generated through biomass, which can be separated in firewood at 78.6 percent, charcoal at 5.6 percent and crop residues at 4.7 percent.

Inside a biomass plant.


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