Producing electricity from sisal

Producing electricity from sisal

The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO)  has realised this and as an institution has taken it up. While several areas in the country are grappling with the frequent power cuts a couple of areas have access to a reliable supply as a result of UNIDO's projects.

One such area is Hale in Tanga region where electricity is produced from the sisal residues by Mkonge Energy Systems (MeS) Limited. Working with partners UNIDO spearheaded the project.  

The technology is a unique one as there is no other place around the globe where electricity is produced using sisal residue. It is indeed something to be proud of not only to Hale but for the whole of the country."We produce 300 kilowatt so far," the MeS General Manager, Mr Gilead Kissaka says while explaining the successes registered by the project so far. 

The 300kw are used in running the factory that makes  sisal ropes; and powers houses around the factory.  The area does not experience power blackouts."UNIDO  has helped us reach this stage. They intervened and really bolsted efforts in producing the electricity," says Mr Kissaka. It is this success that now pushes MeS which is under Katani Ltd to replicate the technology to other sisal plantations in Tanga region with the aim of increasing electricity supply by using sisal residues in all sisal plantations owned by Katani Ltd. 

"We want to have similar electricity production plants in every sisal plantation able to produce one megawatt and eventually sell to the national grid," Mr Kissaka explains, adding that will help TANESCO do away with depending solely on hydroelectricity. However UNIDO's efforts in this sub sector do not end in Hale area. The organisation helps people in Nyangao village located in rural Lindi district in Lindi region in producing electricity using waste from animals.However, villagers in Nyangao are yet to reap the benefits of the project due to several reasons.

UNIDO National Programme Coordinator, Mr Victor Akim who had visited  Nyangao village to assess the development of the project recently and learnt that the project has stalled as there are no areas for distributing electricity."Once the market near the electricity plant is completed it will be easy to start benefiting from this power project," an official at Nyangao village, Ms Hawa Makwita explains, adding that people will build settlements nearer the power plant.  

Mr Akim explains that the lack of electricity in rural areas pushed UNIDO into solving the problem.He explains that Hale and Nyangao projects are just pilot projects and he believes that such ventures can be replicated in other areas of the country to spearhead rural development. "We want to lead the way so that other stakeholders may follow in implementing the technology for the benefit of the country," he notes. 

"It could be better if the government would take initiatives to start such projects in various parts of the country and lessen the dependency of hydroelectricity which," he says, adding that biogas could be one of better solutions to rural electrification. Mr Akim says that UNIDO has shown that it is possible to power rural areas and that Hale project is a good case in point. Nyangao project shows us that with technology best practices, even simple and readily available raw materials can be used in producing electricity for the benefit of rural population and the country at large. 





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