ProBEC The Programme for Biomass Energy Conservation in Southern

By Catherine Cox,2014-05-14 10:21
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ProBEC The Programme for Biomass Energy Conservation in Southern

    ProBEC: The Programme for Biomass Energy

    Conservation in Southern Africa

Biomass Energy Situation in Tanzania (2004 2006)

    Biomass Supply

Tanzania’s total forest area is about 38,811,322 hectares of natural miombo and tropical forests, planted trees-both

    soft and hardwood, representing almost 50% of the total land area. The present annual deforestation rate is about 91,000 hectares due to many factors including wood fuel requirements, land clearance to cater for expansion in agricultural activities, timber, construction poles, uncontrolled bush fires and overgrazing. Besides woodfuels, the country has considerable biomass resources in form of agricultural waste, by-products from agro-based industries (e.g. bagasse and mollases), forest residues and animal wastes. There is no immediate renewable energy substitute for cooking apart from biogas whose technology dissemination rate is unsatisfactory. Recent studies show that more than 4,000 domestic-size biogas plants have been built country-wide during the past 20 years making Tanzania the pioneer of this technology in Africa. There are three main options of energy supply to meet Tanzaniaï??s short and medium-range energy needs while in the long term efforts must be intensified to develop indigenous energy resources like natural gas and coal and geothermal. The first is to import; the second is to reduce the demand for energy through efficient production, conversion, distribution and end-use; the third one is to promote utilisation of renewable energy resources like solar, wind, biomass, hydro, geothermal, etc.

Biomass Energy Consumption/Demand

    Tanzania’s energy demand and supply balance reflects the countryï??s low level of industrialisation and development. Tanzania’s energy demand has grown rapidly due to both population growth and an increase in economic activities during the last ten years. The modern segment of the economy, which consists of industry, transport, commerce and urban households, depends to a considerable extent on energy sources such as electricity and petroleum products. Of the approximately 6 million households in Tanzania, only 10% have access to electricity and of these only 2% are in the rural areas. The traditional segment of the economy, primarily rural households and small-scale industries, therefore depend mainly on biomass energy.

    The estimated annual total energy consumption is more than 22 million tonnes of oil equivalent (ToE) or 0.7 per capita. The energy balance is characterized by biomass (mainly wood fuel) use that accounts for about 90% of the primary energy consumption. Commercial sources, that is petroleum, and electricity account for about 8% and about 1.5% respectively. Other sources including coal, solar and wind account for less than 0.5% of the total primary energy consumed.

    Countrywide annual consumption of charcoal in urban areas is 950,000 tonnes. Dar es Salaam city alone is estimated to consume about 50% of the total amount in the country and it is estimated that about 200 000 bags of charcoal enter Dar es Salaam daily. In general, 80% of the urban households use charcoal for cooking. When used on an inefficient stove, charcoal is more expensive than electricity. Household energy expenditure varies from 17% (high-income group) to 35% (low-income group).


    With regard to solving energy issues of the poor, the revised/new National Energy Policy (February 2003) takes into consideration the need to:

     * have affordable and reliable energy supplies

     * reform the market for energy services and establish an appropriate institutional framework, which facilitates investment, expansion of services, efficient pricing mechanisms and other financial incentives;

     * enhance the development and utilisation of indigenous and renewable energy sources and technologies

     * promote energy efficiency and conservation in all sectors.

    Efforts are underway to establish a Rural Energy Agency (REA) and Rural Energy Fund (REF). The REA will have a major function of promoting new investment in modern energy through out Tanzania. It will work with key service sector institutions, ministries responsible for rural services (e.g. water, health, communication, education, local government, etc.) to promote investment in modern energy to increase access of rural people for improved energy services. REA and REF will ensure rural energy services are smoothly provided to the population. Rural energy includes renewable energy and energy efficiency and conservation.

Relevant Institutions/Actors for Biomass Energy Conservation

Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM)

     * Since 1984 the department of energy within the Ministry of Energy and Minerals has been working on new and renewable energy issues including planning and implementation of biomass projects. There are strong links to national NGOs, higher learning institutions, private companies and other relevant institutions which frequently act as implementing partners.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (MNRT)

     * The Ministry of Natural Resources, Tourism which deals with forest-related issues is in the process of establishing Tanzania Forestry Agency.

Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security

     * Cash and food crops produce large quantities of biomass residues during harvesting and processing. The Ministry has a well developed agricultural extension network which could facilitate promotion of biomass energy related activities such as improved end-use efficiency in agro-processing, as well as briquetting of agricultural residues.

Ministry of Industries and Trade

     * This is the parent Ministry for Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation and Rural Technology (CAMARTEC) and Small Industries Development Organisation (SIDO) which have both played key roles in biomass technologies development and dissemination.SIDO is responsible for planning, coordinating, promoting and offering technical, economic and management services to small industries. SIDO has carried out several biomass energy projects including thermo-gasification technology. CAMARTEC has extensively been involved in the development and production of biogas systems for households and institutions. Other areas of competence include design and fabrication of stoves for residential and institutional applications.

NGOs and the Private Sector Tanzania Traditional Energy

     * Development Organisation (TaTEDO) is an autonomous, voluntary, non-profit environmental and renewable energy development organisation that was established in 1990. Some of its major activities include development and promotion of improved wood fuel stoves and charcoal ovens. Other relevant partners working in biomass energy sector include NGOs like SURUDE, MIGESADO, private sector institutions operating in the country and religious organisations including CARITAS, ELCT-SUDERETA, etc.


    Several attempts have been made to ensure sustainable use of wood fuel, basically through improved conversion and end-use efficiency, as well as fuel switch (both horizontal and upward). Improved cookstoves currently under promotion have thermal efficiencies ranging from 25% to 30%, which is equivalent to a three-fold that of traditional cookstove. Widespread dissemination of improved stoves would directly benefit women and children, through reduced wood fuel use and therefore reduced time and distance for firewood collection or reduced expenses for those who buy wood fuel. In addition, the improved end-use appliances that are either incorporated with a chimney or have a better combustion would reduce the exposure of women and children to local smoke emissions.

    Various programmes have been tried in an effort to minimise the reliance on wood fuel. These are basically related to improved end use efficiencies (improved stoves, kilns, ovens, thermo-gasification etc.) alternatives to woodfuel (renewable energy technologies including biogas, biomass and coal briquetting and use of LPG and electricity for cooking). The modern biomass energy conversion technologies that have been disseminated countrywide can be separated into three basic categories:

(i) direct combustion processes

(ii) thermo-chemical processes and

(iii) biochemical processes.

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