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Renewable energy from pyrolysis technology for rural community in Zimbabwe



Adaptation to climate change has become a critical issue that cannot be separated from the world’s energy demands. There is therefore need to come up with a sustainable energy system to curb the growing energy deficiency and combat the effects of climate change. Renewable energy technologies are growing in popularity and applicability globally. This encompasses solar,biomass, wind and hydro energy. Solar energy has gained considerable ground as a primary source of energy.

The use of biomass is an untapped potentially highly viable source of energy.The use of biomass has also opened up opportunities to improve waste management systems. Advancement in technology has made it possible to use both biomass and waste to generate different forms of energy. Different forms of energy that can be derived from biomass and different forms of waste encompass biogas, bio oils, bio fuels etc. Technologies include pyrolysis, digesters, composting, gasification etc. In this proposal we are going to delve into the use of pyrolysis as an alternative source of energy. Pyrolysis is a process which utilizes waste (organic and inorganic) in a combustion chamber to generate gas which then is used to generate electricity. This initiative seeks to make use of pyrolysis as a source of renewable energy to the rural communities of Zimbabwe and sub-Saharan Africa. We are going to zero on Seke Rural District where the primary source of energy is firewood and cow dung. In this project we will design the pyrolysis plant, educate the community onbetter waste management systems and the benefits of renewable energy sources vs traditional sources of energy such as firewood. We will also lobby for Government policies and all stake holders to buy in the shift from conventional energy sources and waste management systems. The project is estimated to cost USD 25000.

Which proposals are included in your plan and how do they fit together?

The actions will be taken in the Sub saharian region of Southern Africa in Zimbabwe. The precise location is Seke rural district located in the Mashonaland east province of Zimbabwe.

Seke rural district is primarily a rural area.The livelihood of the people in seke is hinged on agriculture. They do cultivation of mainly maize and a few grain crops( sorghum, beans etc) on  a communal scale. They also do cattle rearing and goat rearing on animal husbandry.


The primary source of energy is wood fuel. Wood fuel is used for the day to day running of households mainly to cook.  Also the wood fuel is used to dry bricks during brick construction for use in building their houses.


In recent cases cowdung has found appreciable use as a source of energy used in cooking as it has become difficult to get firewood with the continued increase on the rate of deforestation in the area which is about 65% annually.

As of late the yield of agricultural produce has seen a decline by ---% (ref) as the climate is being negatively affected by the reduction of carbon sinks.

On the other hand seke generates different kinds of waste the majority being organic waste which can be utilized to generate electricity as well as organic fertilizer thus taking actions on seke as a study area is in an effort to be able to make it a pilot study for climate change and adaptation where alternative energy is employed to curb deforestation and reinstate carbon sinks

Explanation of the emissions scenario calculated in the Impact tab

Firewood is the main source of energy for cooking in rural areas. Currently the emissions for carbon dioxide by firewood burning are unaccounted for as well as the secondary impact of deforestation.  The proposed project will carter for 100% of the energy source from firewood and emission from unkempt waste disposal.

What are the plan’s key benefits?

  1. Reductied, up to 99% of the material treated is recovered, with virtually no effluents escaping into the environment (BioSynEnergy LLC)
  2. Provide an alternative renewable source of energye.g. electricity generation
  3. Decrease landfill use because all the bio waste is now being used to produce energy.
  4. Reduction in the rate of deforestation because the local people now have an alternative source of energy.
  5. By using waste streams and fully sustainable biomass, there are many environmental benefits including greenhouse gas stabilization.
  6. Properly structured, this technology provides waste collecting jobs for low-income people and opportunities for skilled technicians. This benefits the community through waste cleanup (public health benefits), the use of local feed stocks and by providing decentralized power and fuels as well as charcoal to increase soil fertility and organic matter levels.

What are the plan’s costs?

The envisoned cost consist of the Pyrolysis plant acquisition, wiring, labour, consultation and utilities costs. The costs are tabulated in the table below



Pyrolysis plant USD10 000

Labour    USD4 000

Field work  USD2 000

Transportation USD8 000

 Total  USD26 000


What are the key challenges to enacting this plan?

 1. Resistance from the community as we lobby a shift from convectional sources of energy.

2. Resistance from the government as we lobby policy changes

3. Financial constraints


Conduct baseline studies and consultation

Pilot study at seke

Assessment and reviews on pilot study

Awareness ampaigns and behavior change

Policy lobbing 3 years

Scale up and down designs for various communities 5 years

Rolling out the project to rural areas in Zimbabwe 5-20 years

Lobby for a regional plan in Southern Africa and implementation  10 years

Lobby for an African plan in Africa and implementation 20years

Related plans

Non have been identified so far.


Michael A. Serio, Erik Kroo, and Marek A. Wójtowicz
Advanced Fuel Research, Inc.,
87 Church Street, East Hartford, CT 06108 USA
2. 2011 Zimbabwe Parliament Research Document
3. "Power generation using fast pyrolysis liquids
from biomass" David Chiaramontia,, Anja Oasmaab, Yrjo¨ Solantaustab;  Renewable and Sustainable Energy Review;2005