Drive for biogas plants in schools to cut energy costs

Tuesday November 7 2017

Energy principal secretary Joseph Njoroge. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Energy principal secretary Joseph Njoroge. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

By NEVILLE OTUKI
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Kenya has begun a drive to construct cow dung-fired biogas plants for public schools in nearly half of the towns in the country aimed at cutting heavy cooking costs.

The Ministry of Energy Tuesday invited investor bids to build biogas digesters for schools in 22 counties outside Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu cities.

Biogas is produced by treating biodegradable waste materials such as paper, crops and sewage in a bio-digester – a sealed tank to accelerate breakdown of the waste into methane, the burning gas.

The gas can be used for cooking and lighting.

“This project aims to relieve public schools of the burden incurred in heating water and cooking since most have available biomass waste,” said Energy principal secretary Joseph Njoroge adding that the cleaner cooking fuel will reduce Kenya’s carbon footprint.

The biogas plants will be set up in learning facilities in Nakuru, Kiambu, Kakamega, Machakos, Meru, Nyeri, Bungoma and Kisii counties.
Others are Kericho, Kilifi, Uasin Gishu, Homa Bay, Nyamira, Siaya and Kwale.

Most public schools use expensive liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or smoke-emitting firewood eating into their cash flows.

Biogas is affordable since the organic materials used are readily available and cost less, according to Amos Nguru, CEO of Afrisol Energy.