|sustainable biomass energy initiatives|
SUSTAINABLE BIOMASS ENERGY INITIATIVES
Biomass Energy Situation in Tanzania
Biomass-based fuels namely firewood, charcoal and bio-residues dominate the energy balance in Tanzania. These fuel types account for about 90 percent of the primary energy supply. About 40.4 million cubic metres (95 percent) out of total estimated 42 million cubic metres of wood consumption in Tanzania in 1999 were consumed as woodfuel. Out of this, 26 million cubic metres were consumed in rural areas as firewood (24 million cubic metres for households cooking, 2.03 million cubic metres for rural Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and 14.4 million cubic metres in the urban areas mainly as charcoal. The most predominant use of woodfuel is in household for cooking and heating. Other uses are in social centres (schools, hospitals, prisons, etc) and SMEs (beer brewing, bread baking, fish smoking and frying, pottery, food vending/small restaurants, brick making, lime production and processing of beeswax).
The household constitutes the largest share of the total energy consumption, mainly through its use of woodfuels. The essential end uses are for heating and lighting.
Energy policy state that one of the challenges facing the government is to reach rural households: Around 80% of the population has very low purchasing power and depends mainly on wood-fuel for cooking and kerosene for lighting, which have negative consequences to the environment and the quality of life, especially to the rural poor. There is scope for improvement in energy supply to the rural population, especially reducing the burden to women, and the reversal of deforestation if energy efficiency is promoted in cooking and lighting. Radical improvement in household energy efficiency has enormous potential benefit for society.
Problems Associated with Inefficient Usage of wood Fuels in Tanzania
Problems associated with inefficient production and utilization of wood fuels among others include; environmental pollution in the form of Indoor air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), the destruction of land through deforestation, desertification, loss of generic resources, and soil erosion. From recent studies in Tanzania, greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide emissions from combustion of traditional biomass fuels in 1990 have been estimated to amount to 59,809.75 Gigagrams, mainly from use of woodfuels and charcoal production. The annual deforestation rate has been estimated to range between 130kha to 400kha, due to woodfuels use and cropland expansion. In addition, inefficient utilization of biomass energy technologies in institutions and SMEs results into poverty due to escalated spending a lot of money for purchasing fuel wood; also environmental degradation is also contributed by inefficient usage cooking facilities.
It is now becoming increasingly evident that many of the conditions of sustainable development and energy use can be met through the promotion of efficient biomass technologies particularly in rural and peri-urban households and small industries. Efficient utilization of biomass offers rural people an immediate and direct alternative to access better energy services that will contribute to poverty reduction and improve peoples’ livelihood asset.
As a contribution to address energy problems especially in rural and peri-urban areas, TaTEDO established a Biomass energy department. For more than sixteen (16) years, the biomass department has been dealing with promotion of efficient cook stoves (charcoal, firewood & sawdust) and baking ovens in the country. The department is also promoting fuel wood baking oven which complement initiated efforts of disseminating charcoal oven.
There is high potential in the country for biomass to contribute access to modern energy services and meet rising energy demand in environmentally safe manner. The central objective of bio-energy department is to find solutions for barriers and challenges on the marketing of biomass energy technologies, through establishing conditions that make it easier to serve communities and groups that currently lacking access to sustainable modern energy technologies and services. This central objective of bio-energy department is supported with the government energy sector strategy which declares for “Appropriate Technologies. Consideration needs to be on the application of appropriate technologies that are affordable, environmentally sound and well adapted to local needs. There is a need to scale up, and thereby, commercialize some of the technologies already in place. Furthermore, research and ongoing pilot testing should continue”. This is also supported by the policy statement in the supply part which states that “Promote efficient biomass conversion and end-use technologies in order to save resources; reduce rate of deforestation and land degradation; and minimizing threats on climate change” Some of the Biomass interventions implemented by TaTEDO are in the following areas:
Improved Biomass Energy Saving Technologies
The main types of stoves used in Tanzania by urban dwellers are charcoal stoves and charcoal baking ovens, while rural dwellers use mainly firewood stoves, fuel wood stoves in use are dominated by inefficient performance, mainly traditional three-stone fireplace.
TaTEDO contribute on changing this situation by developing prototypes of stoves, ovens that use less firewood and charcoal at household level, institutional and some of them are used for commercial activities. TaTEDO biomass related products include the following: (i) efficient charcoal production kilns (ii) energy efficient firewood stoves (iii) efficient charcoal stoves and ovens.
Selected Impact from Biomass Energy Technologies and Services
Some of the selected Impacts on the implemented activities in include the following:
Some of the activities of the Bio-energy department enabled more than 311,028 tones of CO2 to be avoided in the year 2005/2006 due to the use of improved woodfuel technologies for utilization and production.
Creation of employment to more than 500 Tanzanian artisans who have been self employed individually or in groups (where by 60% are men and 40% are women) in production and selling centres of improved charcoal stoves or construction of firewood stove in several regions where TaTEDO implements its programmes. More than 200 entrepreneurs are dealing with baking businesses using improved ovens.
Significantly monetary saving at household, institutional and SMEs levels for purchasing wood fuels (firewood or charcoal) by 50% on using efficient woodfuel stoves as compared to the use of three stone fire place and inefficient traditional metal stove respectively.
Women and children who are main suppliers of firewood accounting for 60 and 23 percent respectively; while men account for 13 percent and household helpers 4 percent (Based on baseline survey conducted by TaTEDO in various villages). The average time and walking distance for fetching and transporting firewood in the programme areas is about 4 hours and 6 km per day respectively. This shows that household members and in particular women invest considerable amount of time and energy in searching for firewood. Based on qualitative approach the success of the promoting the use of improved firewood stove have been to reduce cooking and fetching time by more than 50 as percent compared to traditional three stone fire place.