Techno-Economic Feasibility of a Gasification Plant for Rural Electrification, Under a Bamboo based Sustainable Economic Model: Case of Bududa District in Eastern Uganda
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Majority of Ugandans cannot be able to afford electricity even if it was accessible due to a high degree of poverty. Within its means and current available resources, Uganda is supposed to increase energy access, urgently adjust to the available ways of mitigation of climate change, as well as provide quick solutions to the people to improve their livelihoods and income. It would therefore be necessary to explore environmentally clean energy sources while simultaneously creating sources of income for the population in order for the people to afford and access the clean energy. The Bamboo plant is now famous for being one of the top solutions to quick economic growth and mitigation of climate change due to its numerous unique characteristics. Uganda has embraced this plant with several small-scale mushrooming bamboo based businesses. Unfortunately, much as several developmental projects on energy are coming up and thriving in other countries using bamboo, Uganda has not yet explored this option. The aim of this study is to assess the techno-economic feasibility of a bamboo Biomass Gasifier Power Plant (BGPP) for rural electrification along with an innovative sustainable rural development concept. The technical feasibility is analysed in comparison to previous existing installations worldwide. The economic costs are estimated using particular assessment templates and equations from literature, along with Microsoft Excel. The study shows that the sustainable bamboo based concept for rural economic growth is applicable to Bududa district and has potential of meeting at least 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) assuring increased income and some guarantee that the local population will be able to afford the generated electricity by the BGPP. It indicates a possibility of earnings up to $12,000 per hectare per year. Bududa district was estimated to have a load of 1.14MW requiring a BGPP with power output capacity of 4.1426MW. 0.88% of the total land area of Bududa district is required specifically for bamboo feedstock plantation to run the BGPP year-round with a potential of 60,077 tons of carbon storage each year and 1,225.57 tons of carbon absorbed by the bamboo plantation each year. The BGPP is found to be economically feasible with small profit margins. The LCOE is 0.18486 USD/kWh, the Net Present Value is USD 367,908.4, the Internal Rate of return is 10.5195% greater than the discount rate by 0.5195%, and a Payback period is 8.22 years.