THE Rural Electrification Agency (REA) yesterday said the rollout of 64 institutional biogas digesters has begun in eight of the country’s 10 provinces.
REA spokesperson Johannes Nyamayedenga said installations were in progress in Lupane, Ngomahuru Hospital in Masvingo, Mt Darwin Hospital and Fletcher High School in Gweru.
“The project has so far taken off the ground in the eight rural provinces. Rolling out of the programme has begun and out of the 64 digesters that we are going to install, we are currently installing eight while suitable places for the other digesters are currently being identified,” Nyamayedenga said.
He added that by the end of the month, each of the eight targeted provinces should have at least one digester fully operational.
“We have done pilot projects at Harare Central Hospital, Chikurubi Prison, Roosevelt High School, Domboshawa and at the Pig Industry Board (PIB),” he said.
“The digesters are working very well and at the PIB in particular, apart from using it for cooking, they are using the digester to warm the piglets and they have been able to drastically cut down electricity costs.”
REA said fiscal support of $1 million would be used to establish a revolving fund to act as a catalyst to kick-start the wider adoption of biogas technology with beneficiaries expected to repay the loan over a period agreed upon by all stakeholders.
Biogas, a renewable energy source, typically refers to gas produced by the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen.
The project was expected to reduce deforestation in rural areas.
“In view of the critical challenges in the areas of energy accessibility and affordability which continue to be faced by rural communities in Zimbabwe, the Energy and Power Development ministry has continued to actively promote the development of biogas technology, particularly in the country’s rural areas,” part of the tender document read.
The proposed rollout of the biogas digesters comes at a time national power utility Zesa has been struggling to meet domestic electricity requirements.