Biomass another energy option for Namibia

06 Sep 2016 20:20pm
WINDHOEK, 06 SEP (NAMPA) – Namibia could venture into biomass energy production as it can be easily stored, transported, processed and used for electricity, heating and transportation.
Biomass fuels come from things that once lived: wood products, dried vegetation, crop residues, aquatic plants and garbage.
This was the view of the Head of the Department of Training and Safety of the German Biogas Association Lucas Wagner during a one-day conference with the title ‘Opportunities for renewable energy generation in Namibia’ on Tuesday.
“Biomass can be produced locally – there are no fuel costs involved, only investment or capital costs and for the plant’s operations. High amounts of biomass are available with some thousand tonnes per year from farmers (animal manure); food processing industry; breweries; slaughter houses as well as municipal waste,” he noted.
Wagner explained that biogas plants can be built at nearly any size. Things that can rot, like garbage, human and animal waste, dead animals and the like can be left to rot, releasing a gas called biogas (also known as methane gas or landfill gas). Biogas combined heat and power (CHP) runs reliably for above 8 000 hours per year.
He went on to say conventional electricity production might be expensive in rural areas due to fuel transportation costs and small installations.
Other advantages of biogas include fertiliser production for higher crop yields, in particular for low input farming; soil improvement; and nutrient recycling. It also caters for climate and environment protection such as avoidance of methane emissions; substitution of fossil energy; substitution of synthetic fertilisers; nutrient recycling; and odour reduction.
Meanwhile, project officer at the Namibia Energy Institute of the Namibia University of Science and Technology, Helvi Ileka raised the concern that there is no clear roadmap for both off-grid and grid electrification in the country since various approaches are being used.
The Ministry of Works and Transport at regional level has limited knowledge of photovoltaic (PV) systems.
“There is no regulatory framework in place that supports mini grid and private investment in off-grid electrification. The code of practice and components register is outdated since 2006 to accommodate new products in the market,” Ileka said.
Representatives from six companies based in Germany attended the event to discuss business opportunities regarding renewable energy with local companies.
The event was organised by the Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry along with energiewaechter GmbH in collaboration with the Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Energiewaechter GmbH is an international consulting and service company with its headquarters in Berlin, Germany.