Green frugal energy

Location: Uganda |
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We are an interdisciplinary team of three students from Leiden and Delft doing research on the implementation of biogas energy in Uganda from the 6th of November 2019 to the 25th of January 2020. The team consists of IJsbert Bekooy (TUD), Danique François (LU) and Friso Siemensma (LU) and is part of the minor ‘Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Global Development’. This minor is a multidisciplinary programme between the TU Delft, Leiden University and Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Biogas is generated in simple constructions where anaerobic digestion of feces takes place. Feces from pigs or humans are very effective but cow manure is also a popular input. Biogas digesters are popular among farmers and schools but they are relatively expensive. The gas is mostly used for cooking and sometimes for lighting. Another product of the digesters is sludge, which makes the digesters even more popular among farmers since it is an excellent fertilizer.

We conduct the internship at HS Green Energy Engineering Solutions, based close to Matugga, Uganda. Last year a team of three TUD students, called ‘Energizing Uganda’, started the collaboration with this company when they did research on the connection between a biogas digester and a solid-oxide fuel cell. The ‘frugalisation’ (optimising performance, increasing accessibility, reducing the price) of SOFCs proved to be a hard challenge.

This year there are no civil, mechanical, or chemical engineers in the team because this project will be more focused on the business and social aspect of biogas. By observing and conducting surveys, we will get an overview of the role of biogas in the society. We will develop a business model for HS Green Energy, whose main source of income is the installation of solar panels at the moment. The main objectives are to build a digester at the premises of HS Green Energy and help with the design of a digester at a monastery in Kijongo, near the border of Tanzania. Hereby we bring together the three aspects of our research: the social, business, and technological perspectives on biogas in Uganda.

If you are interested in more information, we would like to refer you to @energizinguganda, where we will continue the Instagram page of last year’s team.

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