Biomass energy accounts for a considerable part of Morocco's energy balance (35%). Although 89% of this energy is consumed by rural households, the consumption by urban households and small enterprises in urban areas (shown in Table 1) has led to the gradual deforestation of the remaining forests mainly around the big cities and in the mountainous regions. Nationally, the area of forest decreases by more than 30000 hectares per annum. Morocco's total consumption of biomass energy amounts to 11.3 million tonnes per year (including charcoal); 53% comes directly from the forests, the rest comes from orchards or from residues (Ministry of Agriculture, 1994).

Table 1: Urban consumption of biomass in Morocco
SectorConsumption (t/year)(%)
Households381 00030
Steam baths (hammams)430 00033.7
Public bakery ovens (ferranes)406 00031.8
Steam pressing shops/dry cleaners32 0002.5
Other establishments25 0002.0
Total urban establishments1 274 000100

Consumption by urban households

The 2.3 million urban households consume about 381 000 tonnes of biomass annually (SNPP and Ministry of Energy, 1991) which represents 165kg/household and accounts for 30% of the total urban consumption. About two thirds of this consumption is burnt as charcoal, which is especially used during festivities.

Consumption by small enterprises in urban areas

Nationwide, there are about 2400 hammams (steam baths), 5500 public bakery-ovens (ferranes), 900 steam pressing shops and dry cleaners' and 485 other establishments (brickworks, potteries, etc.).
Methods have been devised to analyse future energy demands, Société Nationale des Produits Pétroliers (SNPP, 1991) looking at energy supply routes and their impact on the environment. For this analysis, a computer system has been developed by the Institute for Energy Planning and the Rational Use of Energy (IER) of Stuttgart University, Germany.

The first aim is to find out how much biomass is really consumed by the different sectors and biomass users. Evaluation starts using a model which takes into consideration all existing uses, with their specific consumption rates, their share of the market during a defined period, where they are found, etc.

The first results, obtained in 1997, will have been analysed in detail by the end of 1998, but it is already evident that the consumption rate for small enterprises will continue to increase, the hammams on their own being responsible for almost one half of the total consumption. It is predicted that the percentage of forest fuel-wood consumed by cities will increase by 11% to 15% over its current level by the year 2010 in the commercial sector.
Figure 1a: Traditional hammam boiler

Environmental impacts of biomass use in Marrakech

An evaluation of the principal sectors causing pollution in the city of Marrakech (transport, small enterprises, households etc.) has been undertaken using an Environmental Manual, used jointly by the German Öko-Institut at Darmstadt, and the Special Energy Programme, Morocco/GTZ and its partner, the Centre de Développement des Energies Renouvelables (CDER). For the first time it has been possible to quantify the major causes of pollution. It was found that households and small enterprises are responsible for 36% or 70 000 tonnes of the carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent produced annually. These two sectors also produce 4.4% or 25 tonnes of the annual emission of sulphur dioxide (SO2), 23% or 320 tonnes of oxides of nitrogen (NOX), and 4% or 90 tonnes of the annual NMVOC (non-volatile organic compounds), much of which can be attributed to bio-mass combustion.

It is foreseeable, that all these emissions will increase by 2010 (mainly due to population growth), but it can been shown that by using the improved combustion technologies proposed by the project (for hammams, public bakeries and potteries) or by substitution of fuelwood by gas, it would be possible to keep the emissions much lower.

Examples in the field of urban use of biomass taken by the GTZ-Special Energy Program

Dissemination of improved heating boilers in hammams

Moroccan hammams consume large quantities of fuelwood (see Table 1). Traditional heating technologies are characterized by high energy losses in heat generation and lime-scale in both boiler and pipes, which is an important factor. The overall energy conversion efficiency amounts to only 28%. Using improved heating technologies, a 50% reduction in the amount of fuelwood used can be achieved, with a corresponding reduction in air pollution and an improved service quality. The conventional heating system (Figures la and b) consists generally of 2 boilers, each with a capacity of 2 m3, the two costing 3600 DM. A new design of 'cubic' boiler, with a capacity of between 8 m3 and 18 m3 and costing about 5500 DM, reduces fuelwood consumption by 50%. The cubic model is insulated, and achieves energy conversion rates from 56% to 69%. The cubic model was built by private welders and disseminated with the help of the Association of Hammam-owners in Marrakech (APHM). During the first year, hammam owners themselves bought 15 boilers of this type as the improved fuel-efficiency meant that each boiler paid for itself after five months.
Figure 1b: Traditional and firebox

Following this initiative, a second model, a 'cylindrical' boiler was developed with an even higher average efficiency of 78%. The boiler has a hot water capacity of 9m3, but may be adapted to any hammam size. It has a filter to reduce lime-scale and is easy to maintain. It costs of about 8400 DM and pays for itself after 4 months. The cylindrical model has already been accepted both by hammam owners and by national institutions and is constructed and used in both Marrakech and Casablanca. Each improved boiler saves more than 60% of the energy used by the traditional system, thus saving about 150 tonnes of fuelwood or at least 10 hectares of forest each year.

The project is trying to raise awareness for the improved technologies developed among decision-makers and hammam owners. It is also involved in training boiler manufacturers and plumbers. The Special Energy Project-Morocco assists in implementation, evaluation and monitoring of all measures taken.
Figure 2: Improved cylindrical boiler

Improvement in the energy efficiency of pottery ovens

Traditional pottery kilns used in Moroccan cities consume annually at least 25 000 tonnes of fuel-wood, thus contributing extensively to deforestration and air pollution around the cities. These very simple kilns are generally made of bricks and clay/earth and cost between about 500 and 1800 DM (Figure 3). As fuelwood becomes sparse and thus costly, potters use more and more waste materials, i.e. plastics, leather, rubber articles and tyres, which, during combustion, emit highly polluting particles and toxic gases. It is possible to solve this problem by introducing pottery kilns with better combustion characteristics. Already in use by rural potters, they are heat-insulated pottery kilns fired by fuelwood, which cut the dangerous emissions and reduce the wood consumption rate, while being relatively cheap and user-friendly.

For urban potters, who generally produce enamelled ceramics, a cheaper option is to use propane gas. Several simple models have already been tested. However, according to observations from GTZ-projects in Tamgroute, Ifrane Ali, Sfalat, etc. potters do not appreciate these models.

In the Tetouan region, the construction of thirty insulated, propane gas kilns is being financed by the Direction of Handicrafts, the Japanese Cooperation (JICA) and support from a private company. These kilns have been supplied free of charge to the project; the gas is being subsidized for two years through a contract with a private company.
Figure 3: Traditional pottery kiln

In 1992, the Canadian International Development Organization (CIDA), together with the Ministry for Handicrafts, developed gas-powered pottery kilns, which seem very appropriate for potters living close to the cities. These models can be used throughout the year and cut emissions substantially as well as improving product quality. A Canadian company in Casablanca sells these products commercially for about 29 000 DM for the 1.5m3 model or 55000 DM for the 4m3 model. Thanks to a Canadian Fund, the Ministry for Handicrafts is providing a subsidy of 40% for these pottery kilns. The buyer is responsible for the 60% of the total cost. Of this, 5% comes from his or her own funds and 55% is borrowed from a bank. By May 1998, 43 of these kilns had been installed. Even if one assumes that the kiln will only be used by a single potter, and one does not take into account the reduction in manpower necessary, the kiln will pay itself after 20 months through fuelwood economies. A kiln with a 4m3 volume (Figure 4) could even be used jointly by about 10 potters.

Recently, potters started using 10 new pottery kilns imported from Italy. These kilns use gas or electricity and are relatively expensive (about 58 000 DM), but their users praise their good heat insulation and the quantities that can be put into them.

The CDER-PSE Morocco have written a technical report on the different types of kilns used on their various operation sites. In collaboration with the Ministry of Handicrafts, the project organized meetings and visits on the sites in order to encourage potters to use the improved technologies. The CDER/SEP is an active member in the 'pottery committee' which has recently been created within the Province of Marrakech. This committee gives advice to potters, their representatives and the related authorities. At present, the idea of buying a gas pottery kiln for several potters is being examined. Recently, a law was passed in the province of Marrakech forbidding the combustion of any plastic material or tyres in pottery kilns.
Figure 4: Gas-fired kiln

Other technologies

Gas consumption by households is constantly rising, and the number of less expensive cookers, bread baking ovens and heating systems is increasing.

Some high-volume bakery ovens (in public or private bakeries) and steam-pressing shops already use gas and liquid fuel, and these technologies are gradually becoming better known all over the country. The CDER/SEP is striving to increase the information available on improved technologies and their cost-effectiveness, and will, in the near future, take an initiative in the field of bread-baking ovens.
Last edited by Miriam Hansen .
Page last modified on Friday October 1, 2010 08:35:03 GMT.
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