NDF - Financing for climate change and development projects

NCF: Sustainable consumption and production of biofuel in Uganda [NDF C62 B 11]

Photo: Anja Nysten
Photo: Anja Nysten
The project has tested a low cost technology that enables bioethanol production at small scale sugar plants in Uganda.

Sustainable consumption and production of biofuel in Uganda
Ref: NDF C62 B 11

Nordic Partner: Aalborg University, Department of Biotechnology, Chemistry and Environmental Engineering
Local Partners: Alam Group, Makerere University ‑ Centre for Research in energy and Energy Conservation (CREEC)
Other Partner: Scale Biofuel ApS, Hybrid Energy A/S
Total Project Cost: EUR 366,666
NCF Financing: EUR 238,000
Agreement Signed: 27 March 2015
Project Classification: Mitigation
Duration: 35 Months

Project Objective
The overall objective of the project was to introduce sustainable consumption and production of bioethanol applied in the transport sector and as cooking fuel in Uganda and to identify and mitigate potential barriers. This was expected to reduce the deforestation rate in Uganda, enhance health due to less indoor air pollution and create local employment opportunities in new value chains.


The project tested a low cost and scalable technology that enables bioethanol production at a competitive price both for the transport as well as for the cooking fuel market. The initial project plan entailed the establishment of two modular units that would have created the basis for developing a full scale production plant to produce up to 14 million litres of bioethanol annually. While this objective was not achieved, the project established a demonstration facility at the premises of Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) and prepared a business plan for the full scale production plant. The plant will use sugarcane bagasse and other waste from the sugar industry as biomass. Today, Uganda’s sugar manufacturing industry is concentrated in the Jinja, Rakai and Masindi districts. The introduction of a low cost and scalable technology for bioethanol production can easily be scaled up to all Uganda’s relatively small sugar plants due to the scalable technology. The project has also developed a national plan for scaling-up applicable for the large number of small sugar factories in Uganda.

In addition, the project developed a new innovative dual cooking concept consisting of a traditional charcoal stove complemented by a jet burner applying bioethanol.

The project has delivered the following main outputs:

(i) The construction and establishment of modular pilot plant for bioethanol production units;
(ii) Introduction of sustainable use of bioethanol as cooking fuel in Kaliro District;

(iii) National expansion plan of biofuel in Uganda.

Relevance for Climate Change

Increased use of bioethanol in Uganda is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by diminishing the use of gasoline and reducing deforestation. The pilot activities would GHG emissions reduce up to 450 t/a, but the targeted scaling-up activities would have notable mitigation impacts. In addition, the indirect impact of reduced deforestation will create further emission reductions.

Innovation and Knowledge Transfer

The tested technology is innovative as it is affordable, scalable, almost GHG neutral, with no waste streams since the remaining biomass may be applied as animal feed to further substantiate local development. The scalability of the technology compared to conventional technology presents an opportunity to establish decentralized production structures at a cost efficient level, where blackstrap molasses is regarded as a waste product in Uganda. The new way of using of solar heat to drive the production process will further reduce the CO2 emissions. In addition, the project developed an innovative dual cooking concept.

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