‘Ghana has potential to produce 110MW power with biomass’

The West Africa Clean Energy and Environment Exhibition (WACEE’15) and Conferences has thrown out the huge potential the country has for the production of energy using biomass, a renewable source.

A Research conducted by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), estimates about 2700 cubic metres of biomass available, which could generate about 97 Peter joles of heat. This can translate into the production of over 110 megawatts of power countrywide.

The sources of biomass identified include agro and forest residues; municipal waste, wood waste and slabs, empty fruit branches and sawdust.

A Research Fellow at The Energy Centre (TEC) at KNUST, Mr Joseph Oppong Akowuah, disclosed this at a conference on how to put biomass to productive use organised alongside WACEE’15 in Accra.

Day three of the conference was devoted to turning biomass into productive use and the conference explored areas such as government policies for sustainable use of biomass, private sector experiences in the area as well the potential in the country.

The three-day event to showcase modern technologies and solutions for clean energy and environment from countries of best practice, was organised by the delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Ghana, in collaboration with fairtrade, an events company, the Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung and GIZ.

More than 53 exhibitors from six countries, majority of them from Germany, participated in the event, with other exhibitors coming from Ghana, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Egypt.

The 2015 WACEE is featuring an official German pavilion, dubbed, “Made in Germany” Pavilion, with 21 exhibitors sponsored by the Federal German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, in cooperation with the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (AUMA).

Speaking on Market potential of sawdust and charcoal briquettes, Mr Akowuah said their research found out that Kumasi Sokoban, a wood village, alone generated 150 tonnes a day of sawdust which they either burnt or spent between GH¢125 and GH¢250 to dispose.

But he suggested that the country could address environmental problems associated with it by putting it into better use, which would create jobs and generate power for the national grid or off-grid communities.

“We can explore the use of briquetting or pelleting, a form of densifying the waste, which improves its efficiency by 60 per cent,” he said.

The KNUST research fellow pointed out that using about 60 per cent biomass available across the country could help generate about 67 megawatts of power, using small plants that can process a tonne of biomass each.

The method would also create more than 26,000 jobs along the value chain, while businesses would be created along the way for producing briquettes or collecting and aggregating biomass.

Innovations Manager at Jekora Ventures, Ms Akua Akyaa Nkrumah, outlined how the waste management company had established a small plant to pilot the production of compost from waste collected within the Osu Klottey Municipality.

Although the plant is producing under its 12 tonnes a day capacity, it has the potential to be scaled up to produce more manure for farmers and gardening.

“We have in the last 23 months been able to divert 1,077 tonnes of waste from the landfill site, with potential to do 30 per cent in their operational area and another 30 per cent within the entire Accra Metropolis (AMA),” Ms Nkrumah said.

Currently, the Ministry of Power, said it was drafting a legislation to regulate biomass use in the country, with charcoal production and exports done only under licence from the Energy Commission.

Meanwhile, exhibitors at WACEE’15 have expressed satisfaction at the exhibition and conferences, with over 1,100 visitors in the first two days alone.

The figure represents over 30 per cent of the outturn the same period in 2013, in spite of the Ebola scare that barred travelers from West Africa, although the epidemic was only prevalent in a handful of countries in the region.

The Chief Executive of Fairtrade, event co-organisers, Mr Martin Mars, told the Daily Graphic that they were encouraged by the participation of both exhibitors and visitors, adding that another event would be organised before the end of the year.

Source : Graphic Online