Using agricultural waste to generate electricity and reduce carbon emissions in Uganda
Pamoja Cleantech, a Uganda-based social enterprise specializing in biomass technologies for off-grid applications, has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a commitment to reduce CO2 emissions by 150,000 tons each year and increase access to energy for more than 30,000 rural households by 2020.
Pamoja builds and operates micro-grids for direct electricity distribution. These micro-grids are powered by solar energy as well as biomass fuels that are mainly derived from agricultural residue (corn cobs, ground nut shells, rice husks and coffee husks). These residual products are converted into high-energy dense fuel pellets for industrial and domestic use. To meet its goals, the company will scale up its operations to 100 micro-grids (from two), sourcing the additional biomass fuels from 15,000 small scale-farmers in East Africa beginning in Uganda.
Producing energy through agricultural waste enables Pamoja's inclusive business to align its bottom-line demands with the new global development agenda. Smallholder farmers and agricultural processors will be able to generate energy from their waste residues, optimizing efficiency in the supply chain and improving their bottom lines while making positive climate impacts. By 2020, Pamoja aims for a 150,000-ton reduction in CO2 emissions per year by replacing diesel generators with a clean-energy alternative and by avoiding methane emissions caused by the decay of raw biomass.
In the home, Pamoja's pellets work with pyrolytic cooking stoves that are highly efficient, smokeless, simple and cheap, addressing one of the largest causes of deforestation by replacing charcoal for cooking while improving health.
In addition, Pamoja will assess the technical, social and economic feasibility of converting organic waste into a soil building bio-fertilizer to be used in agroforestry systems. Local farmer cooperatives will provide communities with hands-on tools for sustainable agriculture using agroforestry, as well as educate them about the importance of value addition.