John Tuhimbisibwe, commissioner for renewable energy at the energy ministry, said biogas will substitute the firewood consumption in schools and institutions
Government has urged schools and other institutions to use human waste and other wastes to generate biogas as a source of energy for cooking and lighting.
John Tuhimbisibwe, commissioner for renewable energy at the energy ministry, said biogas will substitute the firewood consumption in schools and institutions. "Schools require large amounts of energy for cooking. The cheap source being fire wood. Firewood has became scarce. This school sources firewood from over 30km at cost of over sh400,000 per trip, delivered by trucks," Tuhimbisibwe said.
This was during the launch of a biogas project at Bishop East Primary School in Mukono district on Friday. Tumuhibisibwe explained that as the population of the school rises, the demand for firewood rises putting a strain on the school's budget and the environment.
"Some schools use expensive liquefied petroleum gas that still eats into their cash flows. Biogas is affordable since the organic materials used are available and cost less," he said.
He added that: "Schools use wasteful technology of fire stoves which waste energy. The biogas project will save costs as it generates energy to use in the kitchen and for lighting. The plant can produce gas daily which enables cooking for eight hours".
The ministry is carrying out nationwide demonstration of the projects and similar projects have been done in Wakiso, Kabale, Namisidwa and Luwero. The hope is that other schools, institutions and organisations can borrow a leaf and construct similar plants.
Rt James William Ssebaggala, the Bishop of Mukono Diocese expressed with concern the way access to energy has become difficult and expensive.
"One time I met a young family of six people, they had food stuffs like posho, but they had no charcoal, no fire wood to cook. Even the electricity has gone up become too high for many people, some families cannot afford electricity, "Ssebaggala said.
According to the World Bank only 20% of Ugandans have access to electricity with the majority relying on biomass for energy supply.
"I request the school to open doors and allow people to come and observe how the digester is made and operates. As a diocese we resolved that in our schools it is a must for all children to have lunch at school," he said.
Christopher Ssebaggala, headteacher Bishop East Primary School said the school an enrolment of 580 pupils which has increased from 230 pupils from last year.
"The facility will benefit the school in many ways. We have already benefitted with organic manure. We are the only school in Mukono diocese with the bio gas project," Ssebaggala explained.
The plant was constructed by Green Heat, a green energy and innovation company based in Ntinda, Kampala. Dorothy Kyomugisha a client relations manager at Green Heat explained that the plant has a digester which is fed with human waste produced from a bio latrine which gathers human waste. When students use the latrine they pour a cup of water that mixes the human waste with water.
She said the digester is fed with cow dung as well. "The digester produces methane gas which is piped into the kitchen for cooking and lighting. The digester produces a byproduct called a bio-slurry which is a powerful organic fertilizer. The water is also useful in the garden for plants".
She explained that the school has eight bio-latrines, four of these are for males while the other four are for females. On the financial cost of the plant, she said while the school plant costs about sh32m, a similar plant built for homes can cost sh4m. She added that with the plant the school's rate of use of firewood or a home reduces by 80%.