Energy System and Fuel Flow in a Rural Post-war Settlement in Rwanda

Examensarbete för masterexamen

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Type: Examensarbete för masterexamen
Master Thesis
Title: Energy System and Fuel Flow in a Rural Post-war Settlement in Rwanda
Authors: Bjereld, Anna
Thorén, Johanna
Abstract: There is a need to understand what energy resources mean for the long term sustainable development in rural areas, to understand how to improve people’s life quality and mitigate environmental impacts. This study aims at discussing the problems and the sustainability of the energy system in one rural settlement in the southern Rwanda, called Ngera. The settlement is one of the villages that were built after the genocide in 1994 to manage and resettle the returnees. Through interviews, observations, participatory exercises and quantitative measurements, a description of the energy resources and energy system was achieved, and the processes biomass production, collection, combustion and energy services were understood and analysed. Woody biomass is the main energy resource in Rwanda. For domestic use it serves as energy for food preparation, water heating, space heating, lighting and clothes washing. There is no electricity in the village and the inhabitants mostly collect and use trees and tree litter from nearby public forests and tree plots. The biomass of the woody plants in the forest where most of the villagers fetch fuel is 50-300 t/ha, depending on how dense the trees grow. The villagers spend in average one hour in the forest every day to collect and transport fuelwood to their homes. Through combustion of the fuelwood in a traditional Kinyarwanda three-stones stove or a fuel-economic stove called rondereza, the villagers get energy. After combusting the fuel the ash is put on arable plots to serve as fertilizer. Other energy carriers that the villagers use are non-woody biomass, fossil fuels like kerosene and diesel, as well as galvanic batteries and solar cells. They are used to get light or to use equipment such as radios and watches. The Kinyarwanda stove is the most common in the village and has an efficiency of 16-21 %. Although the rondereza is well promoted by the government there are only two households in the settlement that have invested in it. There are some possible reasons for that; firstly, traditions keep people to what they are accustomed to, and secondly, there is a lack of both skills and monetary means. Thirdly, there are reasons such as lack of information, since the settlement is segregated from other villages, and participation in the training and education is scarce. Education is often dictated by men for men, and since men are not using the stove they are not keen on replacing stoves. Fourthly, Rwandan traditions say that one should not talk about family matters outside the family and therefore the knowledge is spread slowly. The organic law, implemented in 2005, aims at protecting the environment. It forbids people to cut or harm trees. The law has led to an increase in labour input for the inhabitants to find fuel. Even though it is a good initiative in the long run, it affects and worsens especially the women’s situation in Rwanda. They have to spend more time away from home, less time on their children, education and income work.
Keywords: Miljöteknik;Environmental engineering
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: Chalmers tekniska högskola / Institutionen för energi och miljö
Chalmers University of Technology / Department of Energy and Environment
Series/Report no.: Report - Division of Environmental Systems Analysis, Chalmers University of Technology : 2007:15
Collection:Examensarbeten för masterexamen // Master Theses

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