RENEWABLE ENERGIES FOR AFRICA: EFFECTIVE VALORIZATION OF AGRI-FOOD WASTES
Population without access to electricity is set to increase again in 2020 after 6 years of decline in Africa. The number of people gaining access to electricity in Africa has increased greatly: the number of people without access to electricity dropped from almost 860 million in 2018 to 770 million in 2019, a record low in recent years . Nonetheless, past progress is being reversed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to tackle this, the present proposal will demonstrate innovative, reliable and adapted sustainable energy solutions based on the valorization of biomass wastes from agriculture and the food industry through biomass gasification. REFFECT AFRICA will adapt and optimize these technologies to a wide variety of biomass wastes: olive mill residues, almond hulls and husks, millet, rice, sorghum or peanut wastes and sugarcane bagasse, among others locally available. Three full- scale demonstrators will be built in Morocco, Ghana and South Africa to consider both urbanized and rural contexts in Africa, on- and off-grid solutions, as well as different socio-economic backgrounds. The project will carry out comprehensive LCA and LCC of each supply chain and will consider the climate adaptation and mitigation potential of this technology compared to other technologies and solutions in the African social, economic and environmental contexts. REFFECT AFRICA will tackle the development of renewable energy sources, providing solutions for on-grid and off-grid communities, and their integration into the existing energy system. It will consider the generation of renewable energy, the transmission, and the use of storage systems.With the aim to closing all water- energy-food links, the project will work on obtaining biochar from the gasifier, and will be improved to provide a valuable fertilizer to local farmers. The demonstrators will include a robust but reliable water laboratory to provide their location with basic but often lacking testing services.