Rwanda’s only cement factory, Cimerwa is set to begin using peat for energy production a move that will trim-down the company’s operating costs and increase its competitiveness.
Peat is a coal-like fossil fuel used as another energy source.
Fiacre Birasa, the Director of Rwanda Investment Group (RIG) told Business Times on Tuesday, that peat production will be possible within the next two months.
RIG is a consortium of some 43 local investors that has a controlling stake in Cimerwa.
“The first phase of the project is almost done. We are shifting from using 100 percent Heavy fuel on the plant, which is extremely expensive,” Birasa said.
He added that the high cost of heavy fuel contributes close to 50 percent of the factory’s operating costs.
Peat will be mixed with heavy fuel to produce energy with the former accounting for 70 percent.
Research has been underway to secure alternative energy to reduce dependence on diesel fuel to meet the factory’s huge energy demand.
Birasa mentioned that feasibility studies about the project have revealed that Rwanda has the capacity to produce enough peat that can be used as a source of energy for households and industries.
The quantity of peat fossils locally known as “Nyiramugengeri” mostly found in bogy areas is reported by geological specialists to be around 200 million tones countrywide.
“Though we are producing for our cement factory, in the second phase of the project we want to produce more peat to allow other industries and households to have access,” Birasa said.
Peat will be used on both the current plant and the proposed new factory.
The new factory with modern technology will increase cement production to 600,000 tonnes per year from the current 100,000 tonnes per year.
“We have been using very old technology that involves a wet process but this will change when the new plant is commissioned,” he said.
The first phase of constructing a new plant is costing the company $5 billion (Rwf2.8 billion) while the second phase is estimated to cost $70 million (Rwf9.4 billion).
“The second phase requires a lot of money and we are still looking for a partner.
There are a lot of opportunities which can help in the development of industries in the country if a new plant is set up,” he said, mentioning that Peat can be used to make pellet used in Tea factories.