Past, Present and Future

After handing in a bachelor’s thesis in 2007, Prof. Joaquin Perez Diaz had a chat with Vianney and the story of generating biogas from waste came up. So we began to investigate how energy from organic waste was to be produced. We end up by experimenting with cow dung and a few selected organic waste in plastic bottles. This research lasted a 15 months. We managed to publish part of the results. We also had our 1st Generation biogas digester.


Between 2009 – 2010, William Woche, Emma Casson and I were on another interesting experiment. Biogas from a mixture of Chimpanzee poop and food waste. We also experimented making briquettes from waste. Biogas from Chimp poop was a tough job and challenging, however, it was fun. We went out to Ngamba Island on a couple of weekends after going over the design of the digester proto type. This was our 2nd generation digester. A trip to ARTI India was a great and memorable, we learnt a big deal about different digester designs and briquette making. It was after this trip that we were able to produce enough BIOGAS which cooked the first meal at Justice’s home! It was a SUPER day we will never forget.

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Established in 2011, Green Heat is a social enterprise determined to transform waste into energy helping the country to eradicate the over dependence on wood-fuel. The growing renewable energy company is based in Kampala, Uganda with a primary focus on converting waste products into biofuel; the company’s expertise is in biogas and briquette production. Biogas is the syngas produced from the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. Briquettes are a clean fuel alternative to charcoal using dried banana peelings and charcoal dust (a waste char product). Green Heats products provides high quality, reliable and long-term sources of sustainable cooking and lighting energy for local communities. Green Heat is aiming to upscale its briquette production to meet local demands while continuing to increase its expertise in biogas. The company is looking to build upon its well established position in the renewable market, to expand into the national general energy sector with aspirations to be the partner of choice for green energy products and services in Uganda.

Digester location and educational illustrations


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Developing the logo  

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Future work with Afri-Flame Network: “The Potential of Small Scale Biogas Digesters to Alleviate Poverty and Improve Long Term Sustainability of Ecosystem Services in Sub-Saharan Africa”

Main project features: This proposed action focuses on improving the efficacy of energy production by small-scale biogas digesters and biomass stoves in rural households in SSA. The aim is to integrate energy production within the whole farm system to reduce biomass energy consumption, improve rural livelihoods, increase productivity of soil, crops and other diversified farm outputs as well as improving the health of families through reduction in indoor air pollution.

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Activities performed: Three pilot projects for each of the three digester designs will be set up in three selected villages located in Ethiopia, Uganda and Cameroon. A further three pilot projects in each country will use the significantly cheaper option of improved efficiency cook-stoves. In addition, a controlled trial will be set-up for each of the digester types and for improve efficiency cookstoves in each country. The processes of installation design will be formalised to include environmental, financial and technical factors. The flow of finance, pathogens, carbon, nutrients, energy and water will be quantified and compared to baseline data obtained before each pilot was established. Changes in household air quality will also be measured. Key loss processes will be identified and changes to the established practices to reduce inefficiencies will be proposed.

In the 18th month of my PhD in Environmental Sustainability at the University of Aberdeen. This paved way for Gabriel Okello and team to take charge of the innovations at Green Heat. Gabriel is an Environmental Chemical Engineer. 


Finally, we thank our esteemed clients, Green Heat team, friends and Family. Without you watching our backs we would never improve.  




Biogas Appliances

Biogas stoves are made in two parts: the burner itself, which mixes gas and air and feeds it to the flame ports, where it burns; and the frame within which it sits, which uses the flame to heat cooking pots or to generate light or use the heat in some other way. The frame for a stove supports the burner on legs and holds cooking pots the right distance away from the flame for effective heating. See the images below, look out for the frame (in red) and the burner.

The amount of gas that flows into the burner is controlled by the jet, a hole which is carefully sized. The air and biogas are mixed and fed to a ‘manifold’ which feeds the flame ports, where it burns. The burner ports are drilled into a shaped cap, which can be removed for cleaning if food is spilled into the burner ports.

Find out more

Kikati open day

Najjembe Sub-County, Buikwe District is found 51 km along Kampala-Jinja highway. Kikati is 3 km off the highway. This is close to Kampala to allow easy access for transporting samples to the lab, recharging battery packs for field analyses etc. The village includes ~ 400 households.  The Mabira Forest Reserve is a rainforest area covering about 300 km² in Uganda located mostly in Mukono and partly in Kayunga Districts. The towns surrounding Mabira Forest Reserve include Lugazi, Najjembe, Buikwe, Kangulumira, Bukoloto, and Nakifuma. Mabira Forest Reserve has been protected since 1932. Mabira Forest Reserve (31,293 ha) is a forest management area consisting of six central forest reserves e.g. Mabira, Namukupa, Nadagi, Kalagala Falls, Namawanyi, and Namananga.

Eligible members from the 24 households who have been selected by Green Heat for biogas digesters, gasifer stove and Jompy boilers technologies will have a study tour to operational biogas digesters. They will talk to biogas users to get a user experience and learn what to expect should they get biogas digesters installed. 

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Open Day Running Order

  1. Formal introduction from the leaders and the visiting team.
  2. Introduce of the purpose of the Open Day.
  3. Show the video clips of Jane’s and Edward’s interviews.
  4. Show the video clip of the green heat builder taking them through the construction and function of how a fixed dome digester works.
  5. Go directly to the Biogas Info Line exhibition.
  6. Open discussion, questions and answers, Biogas Doctor discussion
  7. Closing remarks.

See you next time

Ashden Awards 2014 shortlist is out….

Shortlists have been announced for the 2014 Ashden Awards, which uncover and champion the most exciting low-carbon enterprises and programmes in the UK and developing world. A total of 61 green energy organisations and programmes from 17 countries have been shortlisted across 4 categories of Awards, which are now in their 14th year.

UK Ashden Awards shortlist

Abundance NRG, Alquist, Acuflow Distribution (UK), Change Agents UK, Chop-Cloc, Decarbon, Demand Logic, The DoNation, TreeStation, Global Action Plan, Lime Technology, OVESCO, Pilio, Pure Leapfrog, T4 Sustainability, Ventive and Your Homes Newcastle.

International Ashden Award shortlist

African Clean Energy, All Power Labs, CV Kreasi Daya Mandiri, The Design Group, Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau, Enzen Global Solutions, Greenway Grameen Infra, Green Heat, Greenlight Planet, Infosys Ltd, Kéré Architecture, Mera Gao Micro Grid Power, Off.Grid:Electric Tanzania, Promethean Power Systems, Service Humanitaire de Développement, Proximity Designs, Rajasthan Horticulture Development Society, Signet EnerTech, Sakhi Unique Rural Enterprise, SimGas, Société Générale Haitienne de Transferts, Sustainable Green Fuel Enterprise, Total Access to Solar (TATS), UPM Umwelt-Projekt-Management GmbH, and Visionary Empowerment Programme.

Eurostar Ashden Awards for Sustainable Travel shortlist

Bespoke Logistics Solutions, Cambio, Co-wheels Car Club, Ecotricity, iDBUS, Living Streets, Pignon sur Rue, Taxistop, Tisséo, Mountain Wilderness, Provincie Limburg and Stad Mechelen.

Ashden School Awards shortlist

Ashton Vale Primary School, The Churchill School, Edwalton Primary School, St Faiths, Sir George Monoux College, Queen Elizabeth II High School and Woodhouse College.

Finalists for each Award category will be announced in early April, with Awards to be presented at a ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in London on 22 May. The ceremony will be hosted for the second year running by broadcaster and cultural commentator Emma Freud.

Ashden Award winners will receive a cash prize of between £5,000 and £40,000, a platform to promote their work and tailored support to grow even further.

Building, Serving, Learning: Biogas in Uganda

This service-learning opportunity partners undergraduate and graduate students from Makerere University in Uganda with their Nelson Institute counterparts to design and construct a biogas system at the Lweza Primary School in Uganda. The system will convert a mixture of latrine, food, and animal wastes into a clean-burning source of cooking fuel and organic fertilizer. The system will provide 700 Ugandan children and 20 teachers with improved public hygiene and a reliable source of renewable energy while empowering Ugandan graduate and undergraduate students with applied environmental skills training from the UW Madison.

Ugandan faculty and students will also be exposed to new educational methods contained within service-learning concepts. Baldwin support leverages existing university resources and expertise to extend on-going sustainability outreach efforts internationally by building upon five UW programs: (1) Nelson Institute Community Environmental Scholars Program (CESP). CESP promotes service-learning among students who have been historically underrepresented in environmental studies. This project also supports.

Digester under construction at Lweza Primary School.
Digester under construction at Lweza Primary School.

Nelson’s ongoing goal of expanding service learning and community-based research experiences for graduate students. Nelson’s further goal, to develop sustained endowed support for such activities, will be constructed in part around the experiences from this project. (2) The Village Health Project (VHP). Founded in 2006 by UW students, this registered 501(c)(3) non-profit supports projects that improve sanitation, nutrition, and education in Uganda. (3) College of Agricultural & Life Sciences, Health & Nutrition program, which supports ongoing student involvement in the Lweza community. (4) Global Health Institute (GHI). GHI seeks to support research, education, and outreach initiatives that bridge global health and energy policies. (5) NSF CHANGE-IGERT. Anaerobic digester research and outreach was initiated in 2010 as part of a graduate capstone course with the Wisconsin Bioenergy Institute. In June 2012, UW graduate students and alumni led a team of West Point cadets from the US Military Academy to construct a biogas system at a school in Uganda that serves 1400 students. The proposed project builds upon lessons learned from this experience.

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