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Table 3 Examples of bioenergy initivatives in Africa

From: Bioenergy and African transformation

Country Initiative Opportunities/comments
Ethiopia National biogas program, which plans to build 14,000 domestic biogas digesters [71]. A 5% blending of petrol and ethanol since 2008. Under the national biomass program, a 4-year demonstration project has demonstrated notable benefits of replacing fuelwood (currently 29%) and kerosene (42%) with ethanol stoves; notably reduced foreign exchange to import kerosene, reduced distance traveled to collect firewood by 73%, and improved indoor air quality [15].
Ghana Jatropha oil for mixing with diesel (70% plant oil/30% diesel) to fuel butter processing equipment, and as a kerosene substitute for use in lanterns [72]. Village-level biofuel production. Note: Jatropha has been planted in a number of other African countries such as Malawi and Mozambique (see below) as well as Mali [15]. In South Africa currently only allowed for experimentation [73].
Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda Afforestation for sustainable charcoal production [74]. Charcoal making supports about 500,000 full-time and part-time charcoal producers. Wood fuel demand is double the supply, with forest cover decrease by 2% annually, thus incentive for tree planting. Charcoal remains preferred choice over briquettes despite higher price and more pollution. Note: See also initiatives in Senegal [15].
Madagascar Ethanol as a household fuel and alternative sources of energy to relieve the pressure on forest resources and reduce childhood mortality [75]. Identified need for a regulation, Government support and optimization identified as key requirements for success.
  Gel fuel to replace charcoal as a cooking fuel in urban areas [69]. Identified need for economic sustainability.
Malawi Restoration and commercial use of tree crops, including marginal lands [70]. Potential for integrating various tree species to increase crop yield, rehabilitate degraded land, and improve the soil fertility. Products are used as bio fertilizer and green charcoal.
Mauritius Cogeneration, primarily using bagasse, renders sugar industry electricity self-sufficient, with estimates that excess bagasse-derived power accounts for 30% of total electricity demand in the country [76]. Life cycle analysis shows that despite potential negative consequences such as high water consumption and eutrophication, benefits include lower GHG emissions and acidification; probably the only stable alternative to 100% coal imports.
Mozambique Initiated in 2004, biofuel production originally dominated by small-scale farmers, now by foreign commercial investors [77]. Originally the focus was primarily on jatropha biodiesel, now there is increased emphasis on bioethanol derived from sugarcane and sorghum.
South Africa Mandatory blending of petrol and diesel with biofuels as follows: 5% minimum concentration for biodiesel blending, and permitted range for bioethanol blending from 2% to 10% v/v [78]. Target date of 1 October 2015. South African Airways plans 50% use of aviation biofuels by 2020. Energy crops include sweet sorghum and sugarcane [79,80]. Renewable energy feed-in tariff implemented to establish energy prices including a profit margin to attract developers to invest [81].
Tanzania Sisal biogas. Conventionally only 4% of the plant (fiber) has been used to make items such as ropes and carpets. Two projects to date resulted in improved efficiency for biogas and biofertilizer production; current electricity output is150 kW with plans to expand to other estates for a total of 6 MW [15]. A private company without external support leads this initiative, which led to an 80% increase in the number of children attending school, while access to health care also improved as a result of the energy supplied to schools and hospitals.
Zimbabwe Planned current 5% blending of ethanol in petrol to 15% [82]. The technical feasibility and potential were demonstrated when the commercial producer reached maximum generation capacity of 18 MWe. About 8 MWe is used for sugarcane ethanol, leaving 10 MWe surplus.
Jatropha cultivation for biodiesel [83]. Objective is to produce biodiesel to meet 10% import substitution (approximately 100 million L per year) from jatropha, using an existing facility operating on cotton and sunflower seeds.