High model Solusi biogas project
Bongani Ndlovu, columnist
SOLUSI Adventist High School in Bulilima District, Matabeleland South, has set up a model biogas plant, which the government says needs to be replicated nationwide as it provides cheap energy while preserving the environment.
The Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring the Implementation of Government Programs, Dr. Jorum Gumbo, paid a site visit to the biogas plant on Thursday.
He was accompanied by Minister of Provincial Affairs and Decentralization Abednico Ncube, Deputy Principal of Solusi Adventist High School, Mrs. Ruth Ncube, and senior government officials.
The biogas plant, completed in 2019, serves more than 600 students and staff at the school.
It was carried out with the help of the Environmental Management Agency, which provided training and construction equipment, and the Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Center (SIRDC) as a technical partner.
The implementation team has been trained on how to build the biodegradation plant and is expected to pass on the knowledge to other communities.
The model uses cow dung, biodegradable foods such as leftover bread, corn flour, rice and vegetables that students leave behind after meals.
The biogas plant is located behind the canteen and renewable energy has reduced the amount of wood needed to cook food for the students.
Prior to this, the school used 20 wheelbarrow loads of firewood each week, but now the number has been reduced to 10.
The challenges faced are that the gas stoves are too small to light the huge pots that cook for over 600 mouths.
Mr. Manda Bafana Dube, who runs the catering service, showed the entourage how the biogas plant works, as there is an entrance where the waste is dumped and then mixed.
The second inlet is where the biogas is captured so that it can be fed into the dining hall through gas pipes.
Then, an outlet where the sludge is located is used to water a flourishing vegetable garden.
Afterwards, Dr. Gumbo was taken to the dining hall where he was shown the gas stoves and given a taste of the bread and scones the high school bakes for its students.
In his address, Minister Gumbo said that biogas is not only one of the most efficient and effective renewable energy options available, but also requires less capital investment than other alternatives. energies.
He said it was prudent for this project to be replicated in other schools in the district.
“I have been informed that the project produces renewable energy throughout the year with a reliability rate of 95% and has therefore relieved the 800 learners and 80 employees of this institution”, he said. declared.
“Before the implementation of the project, the school used both electricity and firewood for cooking.
The project has therefore resulted in a significant drop in the amount of firewood used for cooking and other purposes.
I hope the project will be replicated in many other schools in this jurisdiction,” Minister Gumbo said.
“While Zimbabwe is endowed with many biomass reserves, it is estimated that millions of tonnes of wood are burned for heating and cooking purposes.
Overreliance on wood and fossil fuels such as coal, diesel, paraffin and gasoline as energy sources remains significantly overwhelming in the country.
After the visit, Solusi EMA Child President Nyasha Martha Gakanje said the biogas plant was a vital project for their school and plans were in place to expand it.
“The first thing is to save energy and reduce high levels of electrical power consumption.
As a school, we choose biogas as the right source and we are in the process of expanding the biodigester and becoming commercial, which can supply the whole school.
However, more resources are needed,” Gakanje said.
Deputy Principal of Solusi High School, Ms Ncube, said the biogas plant has brought relief to learners as the school can now cook for them during power outages.
Minister Ncube said the establishment of the plant is in line with global trends of using green energy sources.
“This is a unique and beneficial program that should continue to gain momentum and receive the necessary buy-in it deserves from the private sector and the public as the world moves towards an energy green, environmentally friendly,” he said.
“In Zimbabwe, renewable energy is an ideal alternative energy as it is a cheaper option for low income communities.
It is locally available and can be easily used and managed by communities and institutions.
This is in line with Vision 2030 with such beneficiary projects, no place will be left behind. said Minister Ncube.