KIGALI - International and regional experts are currently meeting in Kigali to discuss how regional capacity can be sustainably enhanced to increase bio-gas production.
The three-day workshop, organised by the Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS), brings together experts from all the EAC member countries and participants from Swedish Institute of Standards.
At the opening of the workshop, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Monique Nsanzabaganwa, reminded the participants of the need to reduce over-dependency on oil through the use of alternate sources of energy.
“We have to find ways of boosting our efficiency so that we use less oil. The only way the EAC’s energy supply can be secure is by permanently reducing our dependence on oil and develop relevant standards for health and safety,” she said.
The Minister noted that the government has embarked on promoting maximum use of alternative energy sources like methane gas.
“Like many developing countries, we have to decrease the dependence on costly fossil fuel; this is the reason we are prioritising projects like methane gas extraction,” Nsanzabaganwa said.
Biogas is gas made from anaerobic digestion of agricultural and animal waste and can be used in direct combustion for cooking or lighting as well as powering combustion engines or electricity generation.
Nsanzabaganwa highlighted some of the negative impacts of using oil, citing countries like Brazil.
“Countries like Brazil have experienced negative impact in trade balance because of the need to import more oil; but now, Brazil has put in place long-term programmes to develop bio-fuel production as an alternative to oil, which the EAC needs to adopt,” she said.
According to Eng. Patrice Ntiyamira, the RBS deputy Director General (Technical Operations), the use of biogas, especially bio-fuel that is derived from plants, would also mitigate the climate change.
Paul Walakila, an expert from Uganda Bureau of Standards, observed that there is a need for regional member states to harmonize policies on usage of Bio gas for the whole region to benefit.