Zimbabwe’s Tawanda Energy, a diversified group operating in the energy, fuels, petrochemicals and related industries in the form of community scale bio-refineries has launched an initiative that will turn the country’s waste into fuels and energy able to power various households in teh country.

The firm says its mission is to be the driving force for social, environmental and economic benefit by producing gaseous and liquid Climate – Neutral Energy Carriers. The project aims to accelerate the development and introduction of climate – neutral fuels into the Zimbabwean transport sector.

Tawanda Energy says each community will benefit from the waste they generate through the conversion of the waste water they produce to energy in the form of electricity and pure diesel and petrol.

Based in Mutare Zimbabwe, the firm says it has been given the permission to use the city’s three waste water treatment plants for the next 25 years to make bio-methane which will be bottled and used for cooking and biodiesel for fuels.

The concept is local energy independence for communities whereby communities become self sufficient in renewable fuels by using the wastes and residues they produce. It would also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the carbon footprint for the community. This is a new concept that we want to adopt in Zimbabwe,” said Tawanda Chitiyo.

“Efficient utilisation of this resource could be important to our country, where there is a relatively limited availability of arable land to grow plants (sugarcane) bio-fuels. Municipal Sewage Waste  can be processed in a number of ways including gasification, fermentation and digestion to biogas.”

A bio-refinery is a facility that integrates biomass conversion processes power, heat and value-added chemicals from biomass (municipal sewer waste). The bio-refinery concept is analogous to today’s petroleum refinery, which produce multiple fuels and products from petroleum.

The objective of bio-refineries is to optimise the use of resources, and minimise wastes, thereby maximising benefits and profitability. The term bio-refinery covers the concept of integrating production of bio-fuels with higher value chemicals and commodities, as well as energy.

The government through the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority has encouraged the firm and in partnership with the Harare Institute of Technology, the firm plans to produce a superior fuel, safely and professionally and also a product that will be easily accepted by the community at large.

“Our ambition is to make Zimbabwe a petrol and diesel fuel independant country in the next 5 – 10 years utilising renewable sources using various feedstocks from sewage waste to coal and methane,” concluded Chitiyo.