Rural institutions urged to adopt biogas to cut down electricity bills

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Masvingo (New Ziana) –Communities and institutions in rural areas should set up biogas plants for an alternative source of energy and to cut down on electricity costs, a cabinet Minister has said.

Energy and Power Development Minister, Soda Zhemu said people in rural areas should take advantage of the abundant waste that can be used to fire biogas plants to generate electricity.

Zhemu said the move would assist rural communities and institutions, such as schools and hospitals, to beat the constant power cuts being experienced in the country.

He said institutions could also earn some income through the sale of surplus energy from their plants to the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Distribution Company (ZETDC).

“The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) trains builders to build biogas digesters,” he said.

Zhemu said biogas was suitable for rural areas which have access to livestock waste, which can be used to fire biogas digesters.

So far the REA has built 88 biogas digesters countrywide, including one which was commissioned last year at Ruya Adventist Boarding School in Mt Darwin, Mashonaland Central province, which uses waste from the girls’ hostels and other stuff like left over foods to produce biogas for cooking and lighting.

“Some schools and institutions add left over foods and waste from their projects or other waste which is degradable,” said Zhemu.

Biogas is produced after organic materials (plant and animal products) are broken down by bacteria in n oxygen-free environment, a process called anaerobic digestion.

Biogas is primarily methane and carbon dioxide and may have small amounts of hydrogen sulfide moisture and siloxanes.

The gases methane, hydrogen and carbon monoxide can be combusted or oxidized with oxygen.

This energy release allows biogas to be used as a fuel, which can be used in fuel cells and for any heating purpose, such as cooking.
New Ziana

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