HomeRegional NewsEast AfricaUganda: A virtuous circle of waste to power is created

Uganda: A virtuous circle of waste to power is created

The waste to power project forecasts the offset of 150,000 tonnes of CO2 by 2020. Pic credit: Entrade

A US-based biomass technology firm, Entrade, and Stockholm-born turnkey power provider, Pamoja Cleantech, have teamed up to deploy 100 micro-power units to rural communities in Uganda. The power systems, which have the capacity to perform as a base-load power source, are fuelled by agricultural waste.

Following a successful pilot programme, Pamoja has announced to bring carbon neutral power to 30,000 people and 15,000 farmers in rural Uganda.

Peik Stenlund, Direcor of Pamoja Cleantech AB commented: “Entrade’s technology will bring 24/7 base-load power to the people of Uganda, establishing a micro-grid that solar can be a part of when available. We are very impressed with the impact this technology will have for the people in Africa.”

This initiative has been financially supported through partnerships with the World Bank, the United Nations Business Call to Action and the Nordic Climate Fund through a partnership with Norges Vel.

Waste to power pilot project

Pamoja has been involved with a 10,000 hour testing of micro-power units that, for the first time, turn locally available waste into clean, carbon-neutral energy, which can provide enough energy to power a micro-grid 24/7 with minimum maintenance, the US firm said in a company statement.

After the overwhelming success of the first two micro-grids, the waste to power project, which is supported by the Ugandan National Council for Science and Technology and the Ugandan Industrial Research Institute and Rural Electrification Agency, will expand to 100 villages by the end of 2017, Entrade said in a statement.

Entrade claims that by 2020, the project would have offset 150,000 tonnes of CO2 through replacing diesel generators with a clean power alternative, while avoiding methane emissions due to the decay of raw biomass.

Creating a virtuous circle

Entrade’s machinery, which is operated by the Pamoja engineering team, provides electricity and cooling as well as clean cooking fuels to the local communities.

Entrade explained in a statement: “This lays the ground work for a circular economy of growing biomass, which mixed with regionally available waste, becomes a clean fuel for power generation and cooking.

“The ash produced in the process has a high carbon content is used as biochar which improves the soil for crop production. This range of community services provides enormous benefits including low income consumers, especially for women. Pamoja operates agro-processing sites that upgrade agricultural products through processes such as drying, creating better returns and less waste for small scale farming operations.”

Innovative technology

According to the technology firm, its E3 bio-waste-to-power generator has been dubbed the holy grail of active power generation by TW Power Ltd in the UK. A 20 ft. container can provide enough 24/7 power to electrify 800 people in East Africa.

The system has been designed to initially substitute the need for diesel used in diesel-generators with carbon-neutral regional energy sources such as wood waste and nutshells as well as plastic bottles.

“The development has partially been funded by the German Ministry of Technology as well as the Austrian Agency at FFG,” Entrade said in a statement.

Julien Uhlig, CEO ENTRADE AG said: “The E3 is a great example of leapfrogging technologies that enables system change in entire communities. This innovation will completely change the way we think of waste to energy.”

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.


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