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CABURESA Biomass Report




Biomass is a versatile energy source. It is one of the most common forms of energy used in the world today. In Africa, where it constitutes 70-90% of energy used, the main sources of biomass include trees, timber waste, agricultural residues and human and animal wastes. With instable fuel prices (which have experienced dramatic reductions and have started going up, demonstrating once again the instability of fossil fuel prices) and environmental and financial incentives such as carbon finance beginning to take root, modern biomass energy options such as biomass-based cogeneration are becoming increasingly economically attractive. Studies have shown that biomass has the potential to supply a significant part of African energy needs if effectively and sustainably harnessed.

In Zambia, the biomass resources from agricultural residues are estimated to be 3.8 million tonnes per year. The biomass resources from wood processing wastes are estimated to be 1.2 million tonnes per year and the total potential from biomass available is 1,000MW. Sugar cane a source of biomass based cogeneration is being grown in three provinces and processed by three different companies.

In Mozambique, there is vast arable land unexploited and low population density, Mozambique is considered as one of the promising biomass production regions in tropical Africa. It has the capacity to produce up to 6.7 EJ (energy value for fuels in HHV) of bioenergy annually with moderate introduction of agricultural technology and using strict sustainability criteria (for example protecting forests and meeting growing food demand). The agro-industry and sugar industry are other potential cogeneration sources. However the former is very limited in the country while the latter source only produces electricity for their own electricity consumption. This is due to restrictive electricity laws that banned surplus sales to local grid.

Tanzania has significant potential to generate enough heat and power from available biomass. Like other available renewable energy sources, this potential has never been exploited due to various reasons including low technological status of biomass conversion technologies and high costs of more advances technologies and resources. The Government of Tanzania through Rural Energy Agency (REA) is promoting biomass cogeneration projects with a purpose of supplying power to off-grid areas. Biomass-cogeneration potential is still low and currently three factories in the country namely; Kakira Sugar Works Ltd, Sugar Corporation of Uganda Ltd and Kinyara Sugar Works Ltd are doing cogeneration with a total electricity generation of over 10 MW. Kakira cogeneration is in full progress, feeding into the grid with 6MW and it is expected to increase to 12MW.

In Kenya, Biomass is the main source of primary energy for the majority of the population and accounts for up to 74.6% of the total energy consumed in Kenya. The other energy sources, though used, are not widely disseminated and harnessed across the country. They mainly include renewables such as solar energy technologies, wind energy technologies, small scale renewable energy technologies and a small amount of imported coal.

In March 2008, Kenya revised its Feed-in-Tariffs policy for wind, biomass and small hydros to make it more attractive to individuals or companies that would like to venture into renewable energy electricity generation.

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