Scientists at Makerere University say crude waragi distilled in almost every part of the country could serve as a cheaper, sustainable clean cooking energy if home brewers were given better technologies of producing it.
The Centre for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation (CREEC), located in the College of Engineering, Design and Technology (CEDAT), says waragi can serve well as a bioethanol cooking fuel and substitute for petroleum.
CREEC together with Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) have carried out studies on the potential of locally produced as a clean cooking fuel.
Some rural places in Uganda are known for producing raw alcohol or waragi from sugarcane molasses, cassava and banana. In 2004, Uganda ranked 8th globally ahead of Germany and Australia among the ‘World’s 10 best-drinking nations’. Crude waragi consumption featured.
According to the World Health Organization, Ugandans consume 23.7 litres of alcohol per capita and 89 percent of this is brewed locally in homes and illegally sold. A 2007 report by the International Chronic Poverty Research Centre reveals that 29 percent of all households in Uganda engage in distilling waragi.
CREEC says brewers could be encouraged to produce ethanol as a source of clean energy that would also save lives.
In Uganda over 97% of the over 37 million population still rely heavily on pollution-producing cook stoves. It is estimated that 13,200 people die annually from indoor smoke inhalation.
Claire Turyahebwa, a Bio-Energy Officer at CREEC says clean ethanol-burning stoves are healthier than traditional charcoal stoves or the traditional three stone fire places.