US firm to invest $500,000 in compressed natural gas project

Plans to convert Biogas into Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) have gained momentum with A Thousand Hills, a US-based venture capital firm promising to commit $500,000 (Rwf286m) into the project.

Plans to convert Biogas into Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) have gained momentum with A Thousand Hills, a US-based venture capital firm promising to commit $500,000 (Rwf286m) into the project.

The money will be channeled through Construction and Renewable Energy Technologies (CRET), a local company that is venturing into production of compressed biogas, a more environment friendly product that will be used as an alternative fuel for vehicles and cooking.

In an interview with Business Times last week, Edouard Ndayisaba, the Managing Director of CRET Sarl revealed that they have found a partner to assist them in making the project a reality.

“The company has shown interest of investing in biogas. We have held discussions and given them our business plan. Getting this amount of money will assist to start on the project,” Ndayisaba said without indicating the exact time frame when the project will begin.

CRET officials say that the company requires a financial outlay of between $700,000 (Rwf397 million) and $800,000 (Rwf454 million) for building bio-digesters for a period of nine months.

The company estimates that after the construction of bio-digesters, it will produce about 1400kgs of compressed gas on a daily basis.

Ndayisaba also said that they still need financial support to acquire the technology of compressing biogas and bottle it into cylinders.

“Getting financial assistance has been difficult because this project needs a lot of money. The global financial crisis has made matters worse. It has become difficult to get a local bank to give us guarantee,”

He however said that the company intends to approach Fonds de Solidarite African (FSA), a Niger based Company to get the guarantee it requires.

“We have managed to get the technical expertise required for the project. We have also contacted the authorities responsible to approve the operations,” he said.

Krishna Engineers Company from India will offer the technical expertise to the project. India is one of the pioneers in using compressed Biogas for fuel.

A product of cow dung, sewage, and sludge, biogas is a source of renewable energy that originates from methane producing bacteria in the process of bio-degradation of organic material under anaerobic conditions.

Biogas has 60 percent of methane content and 40 percent of carbon-dioxide. It can be purified to match compressed natural gas standards by use of advanced technologies.

Biogas recovery has the triple advantage of producing clean heat and electricity, reducing the impact of organic waste on the environment.

To out source its raw materials, Ndayisaba said that CRET plans to construct public toilets in crowded places around the city including Nyabugogo Taxi Park, city centre and around major markets in Kigali.

Currently, there are about 10 new companies in the construction and installation of biogas plants.

Since 2006, CRET has installed more than 40 household, community and institutional biogas plants.

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