The University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), Sunyani, Ghana and Hochschule fur Forstwirtschaft, Rottenburg (HFR), Germany as well as other partners in Ghana and Germany are collaborating on the project to “Level-Up Local Markets by Utilizing Biogenic Residues”, under CLIENT II.

The Project largely seeks for the development, adaption, design, installation and testing of a decentralized energy system consisting of a solar thermal drying system, wood gasifier, biogas plant, absorption chiller and storage capacities. The core objective of the project is to explore the technical and economic feasibility of a decentralized energy system based on local biogenic residues for the reliable and sustainable supply of electricity, heat, cooling and biogas in West Africa, with a special focus on Ghana. The project team in Ghana is under the coordination and responsibility of Ing. Prof. Nana Sarfo A. Derkyi, Dean of School of Engineering, who provides expertise in Bioenergy Technologies and Sustainable Development.

For this purpose, together with the partner companies, a research facility is being developed and built at the University campus of the project partner (UENR) which will investigate suitable process designs and constellations for eligible conversion technologies namely “biomass gasification”, “biomass fermentation” and solar thermal energy. All components of the facility will be combined in an off-grid system provided with storage capacity for electricity, heat, cooling, biogas and smart energy management to maximize efficiency and balance energy generation and demand.

In the framework of this project, the research energy facility will be established and evaluated with respect to its economic and technical efficiency, the related sustainability of raw material – or feedstock respectively – production as well as the indirect economic, social and political effects of such energy production facilities. During the three-year project term, the framework conditions for economic operation and a business model will be developed for the continuation of the system by local companies and institutions. This will provide the opportunity for SMEs to translate acquired knowledge from the research phases into process and product innovations. Within the R&D work of the project, the transferability, the economic success and the creation of services are of great importance for the development and the provision of a product for future markets.

As part of the commencement of the project, the Project Leader and the Head of MSc. Sustainable Energy Competence (SENCE) as well as the Scientific Director of the Institute of Applied Research; HFR, Germany, Prof Dr. Stefan K. Pelz has visited UENR to provide his expertise in Biomass Conversion and Energy Management. In line with his visit, Prof. Dr. Pelz delivered a lecture to the University Community on the topic: Smart Biomass Conversion Relevance of Organic for a Sustainable Energy and Decarbonization in Germany and Europe.

In his presentation, Prof. Dr. Pelz commended UENR for championing research in biomass conversion and energy management.  He said biomass was a flexible domestic fuel that was economical and convenient to use adding that recycling organic waste for the production of fertilizer is an important component of a circular economy. Prof. Dr. Pelz stated that the new model of waste utilization in the circular economy will include organic waste treatment and gasification process (aerobic and anaerobic fermentation).

According to Prof. Pelz, the raw materials for production will be drawn from the wood industry, forestry, food and agricultural (plantain and cassava peels) residue that would be treated, gasified by heating, cooled and fermented with the use of a biogas plant.

Other team members of the project include; Dr. Amos Kabobah, Mr. Joseph Yankyera and Miss Khadija Sarquah of Department of the Energy and Environmental; Dr. Charles Adarkwa of the School of Agriculture; Mr. Nana Twum Duah and Mr. Andrew Quansah of the Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering; Mr. Gilbert Akolgo and Mr. Ebenezer Nyarko Kumi of Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering.