NBL in $12m biogas effort: Project saving brewer Shs 616m in electricity bills annually
Three years ago, beer brewer, Nile Breweries Ltd set out to adopt renewable energy options in its operations in a bid to reduce on the greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy security.
To achieve that, the company invested $12million (Shs 40 billion) in effluent treatment plants (ETPs) at their Jinja and Mbarara beer factories to generate biogas, and ensuring that all the water used by the brewery is treated before it is returned to River Nile and River Rwizi, respectively.
Indeed the investment has been worth it. The beer company is currently producing 841,082 Pascals of biogas, supplementing on heavy oil fuel to generate steam that is used at the boiler plant, saving Shs 616 million that would have been spent on electricity annually.
Johan Gouws, the company’s technical director, said the company is now planning to eventually invest in micro turbines that would use the biogas to generate power to run other sections of the breweries. “This will reduce our demand for electricity from the national grid thus reducing greenhouse effects,” he said.
The biogas fuel is generated from anaerobic reactions in the Anaerobic Digester, pumped by a fan to a pressure of 19,000 to 25,000 Pascals, which is desired at the point of use.
The operation and maintenance of the project is contracted to Talbot & Talbot (Pty) Ltd from South Africa, which recruited Ugandans to manage the daily operations with quarterly support and annual maintenance visits by specialists.
Biogas is a renewable source of energy as it is easily generated from the waste water. Biogas production reduces pollution potential in the influents to the ETP by converting oxygen demanding matter.
Last September, governments around the world officially adopted a set of global goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all, as part of a new sustainable development agenda at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, held in New York, USA.