Biogas project brings energy to rural areas

16 Nov, 2021 - 00:11 0 Views
Biogas project brings energy to rural areas Villagers inspect a biogas plant at a homestead in Masvingo last week.

The Herald

Ivan Zhakata-Herald Correspondent

With Governments and environmentalists worldwide now placing emphasis on the need to recycle waste and to use green energy, local innovators are coming up with projects which if rolled out on a large scale, will transform the lives of people in many communities.

For many ordinary people, it is unimaginable for a family to have dinner cooked using human or animal waste!

Yet a local start-up has started such a project aimed at benefiting mainly rural communities, most of which are not connected to the national electricity grid.

The project entails turning human and animal waste into electricity for the rural communities by installing bio-digesting plants at very low costs.

Rampant deforestation has been reported in many rural and peri-urban areas as people try to avoid the ever increasing electricity tariffs by using firewood.

Lanforce Energy has been exploring opportunities for introducing biogas technology to solve current challenges associated with energy generation and deforestation.

Waste considered includes organic kitchen, animal (cattle, chicken, pig waste) and human excreta.

A cost benefit analysis on employing biogas technology has been conducted for most rural areas of Zimbabwe.

 Lanforce chief executive officer, Mrs Judith Marera said that they realised that firewood was becoming very scarce in the rural areas owing to deforestation.

She said the company decided to roll out a cheaper and ecofriendly way of generating energy using waste and other bio-degradable materials.

“Forests are fast running out because of deforestation and the rural communities do not have the traditional source of energy hence we decided to come in with this programme which is very affordable,” Mrs Marera said.

“As Lanforce, we are saying every waste product can be turned into electricity, that is human waste, animal waste, sadza and vegetables can be turned into biogas that will electrify our homes.”

Mrs Marera said installation of a plant took two weeks after one paid a deposit fee with the rest of the money being paid over 18 months.

Lanforce was incorporated in 2018 and has been installing biogas plants in Mhondoro, Masvingo, Harare, Midlands, Mutoko and Zaka among other centres across the country.

“The system is a must have especially in the rural areas where there is no conventional power because it is affordable, environmentally friendly, very easy to use and can last for up to 30 years,” Mrs Marera said.

Biogas can provide energy for cooking, lighting, refrigerators and televisions among other light powered electricals.

The use of biomass in energy production creates carbon dioxide that is put into the air, but the regeneration of plants consumes the same amount of carbon dioxide, which is said to create a balanced atmosphere. 

Biomass can be used in a number of different ways in people’s daily lives, not only for personal use, but even for businesses.

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