The government is to roll out a program-me to install biogas facilities in all Senior High Schools across the country, to process faecal matter into biogas for cooking and lighting purposes.
The project, which is an initiative of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, is to reduce the reliance of more than 800 SHSs on electricity and firewood for their energy needs and also to save resources spent on such energy sources.
Consequently, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), had been tasked to produce the model drawings for the project.
The Minister of Environment, Technology and Innovation, Mahama Ayariga, disclosed this to The Ghanaian Times in Accra, after he visited some research institutions under CSIR to familiarise himself with their operations.
Some of the research institutes he visited were the Institute for Industrial Research, Food Research Institute, and Water Research Institute and the CSIR Head Office where a durbar was held to round up his visit.
Mr. Ayariga said the biogas project would take off in May after the CSIR submits the drawings on the project to his ministry.
As part of the project, he said, the hospitality industries would be encouraged to install biogas facilities to generate biogas for cooking, stressing this would reduce the pressure on the national grid.
“Power will be saved for industry if individuals and organisations install biogas facilities to generate gas for lighting and cooking needs and reduce their dependence on the national grid for power,” Mr Ayariga said.
The minister said deforestation would reduce if the demand for charcoal is reduced.
He entreated the scientific community to develop local technologies to address the environmental, health and socio-economic challenges facing the country, particularly the energy crisis.
He lamented that the country at present is heavily relying on imported technology for virtually every sector of the economy and that is contributing to the country’s widening trade deficit, saying the “scientific community should help reverse the trend.”
Mr. Ayariga entreated the research institutes to initiate strategies to transfer the research they had conducted to the citizens and industry, to help accelerate the development of the country.
“The research institutes can raise so much money and become financially independent if they develop demand driven research which meets the needs of the citizens and industry,” he said.
He pledged the government’s commitment to resource the CSIR and its institutes to enable them to deliver on their mandate, stressing that the importance of the research institutes to the development of the country could not be over-emphasised.
The Director-General of the CSIR, Dr Victor Kwame Agyeman, lauded the Minister for taking time off his busy schedule to visit the CSIR and its divisions.
He also commended the staff of the various divisions of CSIR for their hard work, in spite of the resource and logistical challenges they are facing.
In a related development, the Head of the European Delegation in Ghana, William Hanna, has paid a courtesy call on Mr. Ayariga to congratulate him on his appointment as the new Environment Minister.
He pledged the EU’s commitment to assist the ministry with financial resources to implement the biogas project in the SHSs across the country.
By Kingsley Asare