9 January 2013

Tanzania: Energy-Saving Stoves Fire Up Conservation

TANZANIA Traditional Energy Development and Environmental Organisation's (TaTEDO) energy-saving stoves have helped families in Tanga's Muheza District reduce reliance on firewood.

Through TaTEDO's technical assistance, 364 households have been assisted with 180 improved stoves at Sakale Village in Muheza. The Production of the stoves is supervised by Muheza District authorities, under technical guidance of TaTEDO, with funding from Eastern Arc Mountain Endowment Fund (EAMCEF).

The TaTEDO coordinator for eastern zone Mudy Nyimbile, supervising the making of the energy saving stones whose main raw materials is clay soil, says 1,000 of the stoves could save 1,716 tonnes of firewood a year in 11 villages surrounding the Amani Nature Reserve.

One of the beneficiaries, Khadija Mtungakoa said she used to collect between two and three bundles of firewood, but she now collects only twice per week from the near-by Amani forest reserve. The Sakale village executive officer Allan Hiza said improved stoves project is important for the conservation of the Amani Nature Reserve.

Made from bricks, ant-hill soil, saw dust or banana stems for building the combustion chambers and fine sand, the stoves that are either permanent or semi -permanent can last for more than 10 years. They use one or two twigs and help to save energy, thanks to technology.

Besides saving the environment, the project leaders told the 'Daily News' that they are upbeat that the technology is increasingly turning into an income-generating activity as it spreads fast. Unlike the traditional three stones used for cooking or the usual charcoal jikos, rocket concentrates burning within the stove's perimeter and heat is retained since the walls are built to absorb and keep it in.

In some highly populated areas in the country, trees are cut with abandon since over 90 per cent of the energy needs are sourced from biomass namely firewood and charcoal. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is seeking to have the East African Community (EAC) member states to scale up the adoption of the clean cooking stoves technology with the help of local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) like Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP).

GVEP international works by providing affordable financing to small businesses dealing in modern energy equipment which can in turn be sold out at affordable prices. An energy and environmental specialist, Mr Bariki Kaale, says biomass-based fuel accounts for more than 90 per cent of primary energy supply in Tanzania.

Mr Kaale says that commercial energy sources like petroleum and electricity, accounts for about 8 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively of the primary energy used. Coal, solar and wind accounts for about 0.8 per cent of energy used. Unfortunately, says Kaale, the national energy balance has remained static for over five decades as from 1961 to 2011.

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