Biomass accounts for about 66% of the energy use. Fuelwood is the most important domestic fuel in the country. It is the major source of energy for cooking, lighting and heating for over 80% of the population mainly in the rural and peri-urban areas.
The potential of bagasse/co-generation in Zimbabwe is estimated to be 633 GWh, particularly from sugarcane. There is also the potential for power generation from wood waste generated from the timber industry with over 70,000 tons of biomass waste each year. In the long-term, this figure is projected to double by 2015. At most large timber mills, only a small fraction (~10%) of wood waste that is generated, is currently consumed in process steam boilers for lumber drying kilns, while the vast majority is burned in the open air or dumped. It’s estimated that at least 4 MW of power could potentially be generated from waste that is produced from large mills.
More than 200 biogas plants have been installed in Zimbabwe, mainly by the Department of Energy. (African Energy Policy Research Network (AFREPREN).
There is also great potential for generating electricity sing biogas from animal waste due to the large population of livestock in Zimbabwe.
In the south of Zimbabwe, there are 2 sugarcane-crushing mills that use more than 1.3 million tons of bagasse for electricity generation for the sugar factories.
Zimbabwe has a target of substituting 10% of its fuel requirements by 2015 through biofuels. The plans to meet this target are through expanding sugar cane growth for ethanol production, expanding Jatropha growth (by planting 122,000 hectares), and constructing a 500 million-liter/annum ethanol production plant that is currently implemented under a public-private partnership. Additionally, a 35 million-liter/annum biodiesel production facility is already in place in Zimbabwe.