Potential of Biomass-Based Cogeneration in Tea and Dairy Industries
The purpose of this study was to identify opportunities, appropriate technologies and suppliers, in order to build capacity by giving technical advice about biomass cogeneration to developers, financiers and investors. The study also wanted to document the available supportive policy and incentives such as power purchase arrangements and tariffs for captive and excess firm or non-firm power available for potential biomass investors. The potential of biomass, which constitutes more than 93% of the energy used in Uganda, has been estimated to be equivalent to 1,650MW. By 2006, only 4% of the biomass energy was renewable energy, a situation which the MEMD has planned to change to 61% by 2017.
Past programs to boost biomass energy efficiency include activities by government, NGO’s, donor agencies and individuals. Over 500biogas digesters were installed in households and institutions, and more than 50 biomass technicians were trained. Specialized production and supply of biogas burners and stoves was also sponsored by USAID. 250,000 plus households keep zero grazing cows and are potential biogas users. However, previous programs did not include any measures or cogeneration possibilities for large scale farmers in the dairy sector who need power to process milk and related products at their premises.
To boost energy efficiency in the tea sector, more than 50 energy audits have been conducted to date. In addition, a performance benchmark to monitor energy usage (EPB) was established for participating factories. Faster maturing trees of improved species have been planted by most tea estates, and that has helped to improve energy efficiency from making 320 kg of processed tea per m³ to 480kg of tea per m³. Consumption of wood in tea factories has also reduced by more than 50%. On the whole, savings in overall costs have been facilitated by 20% at tea factories.
A model for cogeneration using one 250kW gasifier to supply 600kWh per household for 1,667households has been considered. The cost of a gasifier is US$ 389,400 and it is estimated to utilize 800 hectares of eucalyptus trees annually, running for 4000 hours in a year. Power generated by the gasifier can be sold at about 11.00 US cents per unit if delivered directly to the grid, but if the cogeneration option is used, the cost would be about 08.00 US cents. Data from tea factories indicate that current wood reserves are only sufficient for tea production using the same technology. Unless business priorities change, implementing cogeneration with the purpose of
selling electricity to the grid may not be a priority for the tea sector in the foreseeable future.
A new policy recognizing barriers that hindered development of renewable energy and establishing a legal and institutional framework has been enacted. It provides a power purchase agreement with a feed in tariff and other fiscal incentives for investors. To boost the renewable energy mix, a power purchase agreement with the government has been proposed together with technical training for staff and stakeholders; as well as sensitizing stakeholders regarding existing opportunities. However, the policy framework still seems inadequate because, for the four years it has been in place, it has not attracted any significant investment in cogeneration from other sectors outside the sugar industry.
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