Coal and fuel energy are still the main sources of energy and are considered crucial ingredients for economic development but with adverse effects on the environment and economies.
It’s time for green energy. Over-reliance on the oft-imported fossil fuels increases greenhouse gases. Enormous investments in infrastructure are necessary to address the twin threats of energy insecurity and climate change.
The challenge is nothing short of converting a high-carbon economy to one based on low carbon and sustainable sources of energy. The undertaking may be immense but its potential is enormous. Industries should consider co-generation, which produces electrical energy from industrial waste.
A nostalgic example is Mumias Sugar Company’s green and clean energy investment, burning sugarcane waste, or bagasse, to produce clean energy. It used the energy from biomass fuel for its day-to-day sugar processing and also fed the national grid. At its peak, it produced 36 megawatts of electricity.
An ideal model for recycling industrial waste into reliable clean energy, the effort was worth emulating. It is also the path to reduce carbon emissions as no oil, coal or gas is used to generate power.
Despite being major end-users of energy, industries are also the main culprits of environmental pollution. With their consumption habits, they are a huge waste problem. Slaughterhouses are major polluters as their operations produce complex organic animal waste that pollutes water bodies and releases greenhouse gases into the environment.
They could consider the use of anaerobic reactors, where the methane released during decomposition will be captured, upgraded and compressed and packed in tanks. This will transform volumes of their waste into high quality biogas. Besides generating income, this will benefit the neighbouring community with clean gas. The leftover sludge will be used as an environmentally friendly fertiliser.
With the various production methods, future generations will enjoy better prospects for green energy development and sources of energy and income.
Mr Kigo is an environmentalist. [email protected].