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Zimbabwe’s Chinhoyi University to build biogas digester

biofuels09 October 2013, Harare – The Chinhoyi University of Technology, CUT, in Zimbabwe plans to build a biogas digester for the local municipality, a development expected to ease electricity shortages.

The digester is expected to produce 5 000 kilowatt hours of biogas per day. Power consumption in Zimbabwe has been growing and the country continues to import electricity to supplement local production.

Local power stations are now producing just over 1 100 megawatts while the country uses 1 800 megawatts. The Government has since embarked on projects to address the power shortages including the China Sunlight Africa thermal power plant which will produce 600MW, solar projects 100MW, Gairezi small hydro 30MW and Chisumbanje expansion 18MW.

CUT school of engineering science and technology dean Mr Edson Manyumbu told New Ziana the university was planning to construct a small biogas digester at the campus first as a trial run then embark on the bigger one for Chinhoyi town.

Mr Manyumbu said the projects were part of studies for students in the fuels and energy department to appreciate that renewable energy can be utilised.

“So far we have done a study for Chinhoyi municipality to see how much in terms of bio-degradable material that we can actually harvest and we were hoping that to start with we install a biogas digester at the university.

“That small biogas would not really give us much biogas, but once we do it for the Chinhoyi municipality we are expecting a gas production of about 4 000 cubic metres per day which would give us around 5 000 kilowatt hours of biogas per day extracted from the solid waste being generated,” he said.

Mr Manyumbu, however, said the university would start the smaller project at a laboratory level and would move to the Chinhoyi town project when it acquires sufficient funds.

He said the project had not been moving due to financial constraints, while the preliminary budget for the trial run went beyond US$5 000.

The Zimbabwe Power Company has warned of increased load shedding over the coming months as it carries out maintenance work at Kariba and Hwange.

– The Herald

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