The new report Electrical Valorization of Bamboo, analyzing bamboo-to-electricity technologies in Rwanda, is the first official study verifying the use of bamboo biomass for energy production. Using bamboo to produce electricity provides a sustainable alternative to traditional wood charcoal use in developing countries, and thus has the potential to reduce the pressure on deforestation.
INBAR provided the following on-site data from communities in Rwanda for the report: biomass production per hectare of bamboo, bamboo moisture and sugar content, electricity needs, and usage. ENEA assessed the use of bamboo with 3 technologies typically used to make electricity from wood, and concluded the following:
Gasification technology offers the most efficient means of producing electricity from bamboo for a 20-70kwh power plant, but the technology is not as stable as combustion and requires very qualified maintenance people.
Steam engine combustion technology offers the best option for a >70kwh power plant. Furthermore, the technology is easy to maintain and the technology is well-known.
The study also found that bamboo varieties widely available in Rwanda are suitable for electricity production, noting that bamboos with high sugar content were best for producing electricity.
As a next step, INBAR is working to develop a new project for environmental-friendly, sustainable energy in Africa based on the results of this report.