Climate benefits from alternative energy uses of biomass plantations in Uganda.
Biomass and Bioenergy Volume 59, 2013
The establishment of tree plantations in rural areas in Uganda could provide renewable energy to rural communities, while decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from conventional electricity sources and unsustainable forest use. The study evaluates the greenhouse gas benefits that could be produced by biomass based energy systems in Anaka, a rural settlement in the Amuru district in northern Uganda. Two alternative energy uses are explored: a) electricity production through wood gasification and b) traditional fuelwood use. It is estimated that a small-scale wood gasifier could provide electricity for basic community services by planting less than 10 ha of new short rotation coppices (SRCs). The gasification system could save 50–67% of the GHG emissions produced by traditional diesel based electricity generators in terms of CO2-eq. (0.61–0.83 t MWh−1 or 7.1 t y−1 per hectare of SRCs). It was also estimated that traditional use of fuelwood in households is currently unsustainable, i.e. the consumption of wood is higher than the annual growth from natural wood resources in the study area. It is estimated that 0.02–0.06 ha per capita of plantations could render the current consumption of wood sustainable. In this way, the CO2 emissions produced through unsustainable extraction of wood could be avoided (2.0–7.3 t per capita per year or 50–130 t y−1 per hectare of SRCs).