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|| Biomass valorisation in Africa as a solution to climate change
||The Ministry of Energy of the Kingdom of Morocco, World Biogas Association, World Bioenergy Association, Ibn Tofail University
|| Conferences & Exhibitions
|| Centre d’accueil et de conférences à Hay Riad, Rabat
|| link to the event|
|| Africa disposes of millions of tons of biomass across the continent every day- whilst some of these wastes are used as animal feeds and soil improvers; much is burnt in the open environment, dumped into uncontrolled landfills, or left to rot in the open.
Yet the two huge assets Africa has (huge amounts of biomass and warm temperatures) could be exploited to create both energy and fertilisers beneficial to help African countries meet their climate change targets. Managing wet, biodegradable wastes to transform these into biogas would reduce GHG emissions, improve renewable energy production and provide employment, a cleaner environment and low impact fertilisers for agriculture. Conversely, using waste wood from controlled forestry activities can ensure a supply of low cost heat and fuel in many off grid localities and avoid the destruction of forest resources.
In the past, the transformation of biomass into energy has been done mainly by combustion in incinerator plants. However, today the conversion of energy from biomass can be achieved using various technologies. In fact, there is a much wider range of technologies suitable for energetic waste utilization, e.g. gasification, pyrolysis or the biochemical processes to produce biogas, especially if a sustainable waste management system is implemented and valuable fractions (such as glass, metal, paper, plastic etc.) are separated first for re-use and recycling. The basic concern is that the circular economy saves more greenhouse gases than it generates. In contrast, many emerging and developing economies in Africa face the major challenge of developing an adequate waste management system that complies with the basic principle of the circular economy and/or improving existing but inadequate and unsustainable waste management systems.
Africa so far has not been able to develop these industries on an industrial scale- biogas is limited to very small household/community units which while extremely important in the local context, do not resolve the larger waste issues from urban centres where most of the populations are now living. Planning, planting and managing forestry resources to provide localised heat for communities could help transform the landscapes of Africa where forests have been cut, back into planted areas.
This conference aims at exploring what can be done to overcome these barriers and push more quickly towards a low carbon emissions society. Furthermore, the conference output will focus on the best and appropriate biomass conversion technologies for the African case.