Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Kereng promises biogas project won’t evaporate

The Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism has promised her ministry is on the implementation track of the biogas project.

During the mid-term review of the National Development Plan (NDP) 11, minister Philda Nani Kereng told Parliament that “Biogas in public institutions is being promoted in partnership with other development partners and an 18-month feasibility study on Waste-to-Energy is being undertaken. We have seen the start of the rollout of the 200 Bio-gas installations that were done under a project supported by UNDP and the government.”

A follow-up on the matter revealed that a total of 10 digesters have been completed so far while 37 are still ongoing. The Department of Energy is waiting for the remaining 153 beneficiaries to complete acquiring material so that construction of the remaining 153 sites may commence.

“If the beneficiaries are unable to procure the materials on time, then the next in line will replace them, as the Department received a lot of applications. It is important to note that the speed of implementation of the project is wholly dependent upon the swiftness of acquisition of materials by the beneficiaries,” responded Director of Energy, Midas Sekgabo to Sunday Standard enquiries.

He said the rollout of small-scale biogas digesters is open to illegible citizens; which include small scale agro business, small scale livestock producers, households with livestock schools and other institutions. He further highlighted that for illegibility the proposed construction site should be located in the South Eastern part of the country- Kgatleng, Kweneng, South and South East districts.

The beneficiary should have access to feed stock for organic waste and water for initial and daily feeding of the digester. Beneficiaries should also have water for construction and that they should be able to acquire building materials according to the bill of quantities provided.

“The project also targets to facilitate three medium- sized biogas digesters ranging from 300-5 000 cubic meters for agro industry in partnership with councils and additional interested stakeholders. Technical and financial feasibility study for a medium scale biogas digester for Botswana Meat Commission (BMC)has been completed. The Environmental Management Plan and sourcing of technical and financial partners for the establishment of the digester is ongoing,” explained Sekgabo.

The intellectual property right of the digester, he said, is for Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI).

It is hoped that at the end of the roll out, the project would have created an enabling environment that supports the market development of agro waste management and biogas technology, stimulating investments in biogas technologies and up-taking for such technologies through new policies, tools and financial incentives.

It is hoped that it would have strengthened and developed capacity for institutions and private sector for biogas technology development and servicing and improved agro-waste management and regulation through awareness raising, training and dissemination sessions.

“It would have facilitated and established appropriate utilization and knowledge platforms as well as designed the nation-wide roll out of the bio gas digesters,” he said.

Asked what steps are to follow the current roll out, Sekgabo said the project would be up-scaled nationally with the aims to facilitate the most practical biogas technology that can meet the operational conditions and address most critical waste issues and energy demands as well as mitigate identified challenges.

The biogas project is financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and is implemented by the Ministry of Mineral Resources Green Technology and Energy Security through the Department of Energy on the Ministry of Environment Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism (MENT) represented by the Department of Waste Management and Pollution Control (DWMPC). The research and innovation aspect of the project is undertaken by BITRI.

“36 Masons have been trained by BITRI in the construction of small-scale digesters in collaboration with vocational training institutions, as well as trainers in vocational training institutions. A curriculum for guidance of topics for learning the process of constructing small scale biogas digesters has been completed,” he said.

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