Energy Research and Development Center (ERDC)

There are five main units under ERDC

1. Hydro-electricity
2. Biomass (briquettes)
3. Solar energy
4 .Wind energy
5. Biogas

Biogas projects and training in Ndejje University

The current and ongoing biogas projects include

a. Community-based biogas plant in Ndejje Trading center (Zeph's place). This is a fixed dome, used for cooking and for demonstration purposes.

b. Community-based biogas plant at Paul Musoke's place (near the main campus of Ndejje University) balloon, used for cooking and demonstration purposes

c. Planned biogas plant at the agriculture site: floating drum. This biogas demonstration plant is being developed in partnership with UNREEEA (sponsored by GIZ and other Germany agencies).

Teaching programs in biogas

a. There is a course unit called “Renewable energy” offered to all undergraduate Engineering students (in Civil, Electrical, Mechanical and Chemical Engineering) in their third year. This course has extensive focus on biogas systems, including design, construction, operation and maintenance.

b. In addition, Civil Engineering students take another course unit Environmental Engineering I, which is offered in third year, semester 2. They study solid wastes and human wastes management technologies. One of the technologies used is anaerobic digestion, used to produce biogas.

c. Students also cover details of processes of anaerobic digestion in the digesters, design and operation of different types of digester technologies.

d. The undergraduate students take group design projects in their third year, semester 2, where they apply theoretically taught principles to come up with Engineering designs. There have been a number of groups working on the design of biogas systems, including, but not limited to; Design of bio-latrines (toilets connected to biogas digesters).

e. Fourth year undergraduate students do a research project in their fields of interests. We have had some students doing research in biogas. However, there are challenges/limitations associated to carrying out a number of experiments in feedstock characterization. Ndejje has been getting assistance from partners.

f. Third year group design and fourth year research projects has been purely academic work, done to learn the design and research principles.

g. we have received support from GIZ to purchase required equipment to help in characterization of digester feedstock and to perform a number of practicals in biogas, including gas quality and quantity measurements,

Plans in Biogas teaching, research and project development

a. To start short courses in biogas installation, operation and maintenance. This will help in capacity building, even on the side of practitioners. We have before ran short courses in briquette production, and hence hope to do the same in biogas.

b. We are in process of developing the Masters curriculum in Renewable Energy so as to start graduate training. This will definitely include biogas and students will be doing research in the area. This is expected to start. Such research at post graduate level (in presence of newly procured equipment) can help to boost publications in the area of biogas.

c. There are 3 interns from Netherlands who are constructing a biogas lab where 3 biogas plants would be housed. It will have the following features;

I. Three digesters will be set-up for small-scale controlled testing. Each digester will have a different output, resulting in different gas qualities and gas production. It will be used to establish relationship between the gas quality and the different inputs.

II. The biogas lab will be placed next to briquette workshop, the cook-stove lab and the floating drum biogas plant. Having all of them in on place will avail a demonstration and research place for integrated renewable energy development.

III. Next to the digesters there would be multiple possibilities for doing research on the characteristics of the digester. For example: each digester can be attached to a gas cleaning unit. This will enable research on improving the quality of the biogas We will continue developing community-based skills development and participatory biogas projects along the models that have been used in developing briquettes production. We look for partners to develop programs of upscaling and commercializing biogas production at community levels. Already, a sufficient level of upscaling and commercializing has been attained in the briquettes production.