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Report, 1988

Biogas as an alternative energy source in Uganda : report from a minor field study

Singoro, Ayieko Kisonyo


In Uganda, the energy sector like the rest of the economy has suffered severe setback during the 1970s and l980s, the years of political problems in that country. It has been seen that middle class households and even the upper class are reverting from the more efficient and cleaner fuels i.e. electricity and gas, to woodfuel in form of charcoal due partly to the unrealiability of the clean fuels and partly to their high prices and that of the appliances required in their utilisation. This report is a result of a Minor Field Study to evaluate the energy situation in Uganda with the aim of establishing the possibilities of introducing biogas systems in the countryside. It came out during the study that the country faces fuel shortage in the urban areas and some parts of the rural areas and the situation is deteriorating with time. Factors contributing to this situation include inefficient use of fuelwood and charcoal, the rapid population increase without corresponding technological development, rapid growth of the urban areas and the intensive exploitation without replanting of forest products for other purposes. The report gives a general description of biogas production, its characteristics, and its use for cooking, lighting, heating, driving of engines, generating of electricity and curing of tobacco. There is an outline of safety precautions during the production and use of the gas. Conditions for the introduction of biogas systems in the rural areas of Uganda are also outlined and these include, energy needs, availability of technical know-how, availability of building material and availability of organic materials for biogas production. It is pointed out in the report that all these conditions are fairly satisfactorily fulfilled as it concerns the Ugandan situation. The Chinese Pilot Project consisting of seven plants in the eastern part of Uganda is examined. Some plants have managerial problems but the biggest problem is that the project has no technical backup in terms of repairs and servicing, whenever problems arise. There is hardly any data being collected from the plants and no visible follow-up. The local extension staff do not have knowledge about the functioning of the units and therefore they are not useful to the unit owners in terms of advice and repairs. Some differences in basic conditions as relates to biogas technology transfer are briefly examined It turns out that the pilot plants are very expensive. There is an observation on the likely effects of introducing biogas systems in rural Uganda. It is likely that if care is not taken, the project can increase the labour burden on some members of the society. The health conditions in the society should improve and the environment conservated. There then comes an economic analysis which points out that research is needed to produce a cheaper design.


rural energy; renewable energy resources; rural community development; biogas; Uganda

Published in

Rapport - Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för lantbruksteknik
ISBN: 91-576-3360-6
Publisher: Institutionen för lantbruksteknik, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet

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