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Centre for Integrated Energy Research

Leeds Working with Nepal to make Energy Gardens a Reality

DTC Low Carbon Technologies student James Hammerton joined colleagues from the School of Geography in hosting a recent energy garden workshop in Katmandu, Nepal. Also in attendance were the project partners from both Nepal and India, British Ambassador to Nepal, Andrew Sparks, Energy Minister of Nepal, Radha Gyawali and people from nearby villages.

Energy gardens is an exciting new concept being championed by Leeds, which aims to bring bioenergy to some of the poorest people in some of the most remote regions of the world. The project envisions a marriage of efficient agroforestry techniques using indigenous plant species, protecting biodiversity, with simple yet innovative technologies to produce bioenergy from agricultural residues and wood. The idea has already begun to make waves in Indian energy policy following the highly successful Hassan Biofuels Project in Karnataka, India. It is hoped this blueprint can be replicated and improved upon in Nepal and other developing countries.

The workshop was a great opportunity to discuss key issues such as appropriate technology, plant species and social inclusion with academics from a wide range of disciplines and regions. It was also a fantastic chance to talk with ordinary people from farming communities about their perceptions of bioenergy and how this project could meet their needs.

It was a great springboard for the project, which is now receiving interest in Uganda, to initiate high impact research with international collaborators centring on the University of Leeds. Members from The Energy Research Institute and School of Geography are combining their expertise to research innovative new bioenergy technologies as well adapting existing approaches for developing countries with the hope that these will be trialled in various villages in the near future.