First INIAP Conference in Kampala Focuses on Sustainable Solutions for Invasive Aquatic Plants

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KAMPALA, UGANDA — The inaugural International Network for the Utilization of Invasive Aquatic Plants (INIAP) conference was held today at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Kampala.

Organized by the Centre for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation (CREEC) in partnership with the University of Leeds, the conference aimed to address the challenges and opportunities associated with invasive aquatic plants.

The event gathered experts, researchers, policymakers, and stakeholders from various fields to discuss sustainable solutions for managing and utilizing invasive aquatic plants. Dr. Mary Suzan Abbo, Executive Director of CREEC, highlighted the significance of this first annual INIAP conference in tackling the global issue of invasive aquatic plants through research and development.

“The successful launch of the INIAP conference marks a crucial step towards addressing the global challenge of invasive aquatic plants,” Abbo stated. “It underscores the importance of research and development in finding sustainable solutions for their management and utilization, while also fostering networking and knowledge exchange among attendees.”

Dr. Mary Suzan Abbo

The conference will become an annual event to continually share innovative research approaches, best practices in plant management, and the economic and environmental implications of invasive aquatic plants, according to Abbo.

Dominic Wanjihia, CEO of Biogas International Limited, presented on the production of biofuel from water hyacinth. He detailed the process of feedstock harvesting, conversion, purification, and distribution, emphasizing the environmental, economic, and social benefits of this approach.

“Producing biofuel from water hyacinth offers numerous advantages, including waste management,” Wanjihia explained. “Water hyacinth can rapidly spread and clog waterways, but by harvesting and utilizing it for biofuel production, we can control its growth and mitigate its negative impacts. Biofuels from water hyacinth are renewable, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and contributing to a more sustainable energy mix.”

Dr. Andrew Ross from the University of Leeds discussed how utilizing invasive aquatic plants for biofuel can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

He noted that biofuels are often carbon-neutral or even carbon-negative, as the carbon dioxide released when burned is offset by the carbon dioxide absorbed during the plants’ growth.

“Producing biofuel from water hyacinth can enhance energy security and create economic opportunities,” Ross said. “It reduces dependence on imported fossil fuels, supports domestic energy production, and can stimulate job creation in regions affected by the plant’s invasive growth.”

About INIAP

The International Network for the Utilization of Invasive Aquatic Plants (INIAP) is dedicated to addressing the challenges posed by invasive aquatic plants through research, collaboration, and innovation.

INIAP aims to develop sustainable solutions that benefit the environment and local communities by promoting the responsible utilization of invasive aquatic plants for economic, social, and environmental purposes. The organization fosters partnerships and knowledge exchange to advance best practices globally.

About CREEC

The Centre for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation (CREEC) is a Ugandan research and development organization established in 2008. CREEC focuses on promoting sustainable energy development and use in Uganda and the East African region.

The center conducts research, provides training, and engages in advocacy to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy access for sustainable development.

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