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The Biogas Project

KAMPALA, Feb 2 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Uganda's largest slaughterhouse runs 24 hours a day, turning up to 700 cattle, 200 sheep and 300 chickens each day into meat for the local market.

But the energy-thirsty Kampala City Abattoir is often brought to a stutter by the city's daily power outages, which can last up to 12 hours. At those times, it is forced to rely on polluting diesel generators that are expensive to run.

Then there's the problem of the large amounts of blood, wastewater and other waste produced, much of which is drained directly into nearby Murchison Bay in Lake Victoria.

Across East Africa, increases in processing of agricultural products - a change meant to boost local economics and provide jobs - is being accompanied by an increase in organic waste dumped into bodies of water and open landfills.

But a pilot project to turn that waste into biogas is getting started this month in Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

Funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) through the Bio-resources Innovations Network for Eastern Africa (Bio-Innovate), the effort aims to provide training and technology to agricultural factories to help them generate their own power, save on electricity and cut down on climate-changing emissions.

"We are generating on average about 10 to 15 cubic metres of biogas daily," said Joseph Kyambadde, head of biochemistry at Makerere University and one of those involved with the project.

"With 60 cubic metres of gas we (would be) able to run about 15 security lights, 15 deep freezers and 15 refrigerators at the abattoir, helping save around 8 million Ugandan shillings ($2,800) per month," he said.

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