The Energy Centre
The Energy Center (TEC) commenced activities in 2006 but was formally approved by the Academic Board of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in 2009 and has over the years provided a platform for the pursuit of multidisciplinary energy research and development activities at KNUST. TEC pulls resources from the College of Engineering (CoE) as well as other Colleges of the university and beyond. TEC currently has about sixty (60) Fellows drawn from practically every College of KNUST and almost fifty (50) Associates of which a good number are graduate students in various disciplinary areas across the university and outside it. The first director of the Center was the Late Prof. Abeeku Brew-Hammond
The Center has since its inception worked with several partners within Ghana and across the African continent and beyond, attracting funding of more than $7.1 million from the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), World Bank, GIZ, ECOWAS, IRENA, Government of Ghana, etc., for its research and other activities. In pursuit of its vision of becoming a globally recognised center of excellence, TEC continues to actively engage partners within Ghana, the ECOWAS and Africa region in particular, and with world- class centres of competence around the world. The collaborative approach to TEC’s activities and its focus on national and regional energy priorities is reflected in the partners involved in a number of its projects.
Examples include the World Bank funded Solar Capacity Upgrading Project (2010 - 2012) which was implemented in collaboration with the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE) in Ouagadougou Burkina Faso; the AU-funded Grid-Connected Solar PV in rural electrification projects (ongoing) which is implemented together with the University of Botswana, and the ECOWAS Renewable Energy and 20 Energy Efficiency Capacity Needs Project (2012 – 2013) which was implemented together with the University of Cape Verde (UNICV) and financed by the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE). Locally, TEC has since its founding maintained active linkages with energy-sector players including the Energy Commission, Ministry of Energy, etc. TEC has since 2009 trained over 300 personnel across 17 African countries in Solar Photovoltaic Systems, Biogas System Design and Construction, Biofuels Technology and Economics, Wind Energy, Renewable Energy Enterprise Development.
The following are grant awarded projects being implemented at the Center.
Potential of distributed grid-connected solar – PV systems in rural electrification in Africa (AU Grid Solar)
The Africa Union project dubbed “Potential of distributed grid-connected solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems in rural electrification in Africa” is supported by Africa Union with an amount of €934,056.60. The project seeks to demonstrate the potential of distributed grid-connected solar PV systems in rural electrification schemes/projects for improved affordability and sustainable energy access. As part of its activities, the project has installed an Automatic Weather Station in Walewale (Northern Ghana) for monitoring solar radiation and other parameters. The project will also install 30kWp grid-connected systems in the same area. Mr Emmanuel Anto of the Department of Electrical Engineering is Coordinator of this project. Project partners are the University of Botswana and the University of Flensburg, Germany.
Development of a Cost-effective, Modular and Dry Concentrating Solar Power for Africa (CSP4Africa)
The International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE) in Burkina Faso in collaboration with TEC and SireaEnergie, France is carrying out a research project which seeks to undertake the following:
- Potential assessment and sites ranking of CSP in West Africa
- Multi-scale design optimization of multi-faceted heliostats
- Implementation and testing of an optimal multi-faceted heliostat in Burkina Faso and in Ghana
- Design and optimization of a turbine for a waterless CSP
The AU-2iE CSP4Africa Project is supported by African Union with an amount of €743,096 and focuses on technology development.
Solar Export Potential Study
The Ghana Solar Export Potential Study (SEPS) is one of UNEP’s initiatives on Green Economy and Trade. The main objective of the study is to assess the export potential from solar power (including component manufacture/assembly) in Ghana. The output of this study will facilitate an understanding of the opportunities, investment requirements and policy measures required to attain the objectives of Ghana’s Energy (RE) Law (Act 832). The study is supported by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with an amount of US$50,000.The study is coordinated by Dr. Lena Mensah with support from Mr. David Ato Quansah both from the Mechanical Engineering Department.
Feasibility Study and detailed Engineering of small scale Biomass Gasification Mini Grids for Electricity Services in Rural communities in Ghana.
The ECOWAS Renewable Energy Facility (EREF) Project with support from the ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) is being led by Kumasi Institute of Technology, Energy and Environment (KITE) with support from TEC and Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Spain. The project is supported with an amount of €8,283. The past seeks to carry out feasibility study of Small Scale Biomass Gasification Mini Grids for Electricity.
Supporting Green Industrial Development in Ghana: Biogas Technology and Business for Sustainable Growth
The United Nations International Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Korean Government are supporting the Ghana Government through TEC to embark on a project,”supporting green industrial development in Ghana: Biogas technology and business for sustainable growth”. The project which will build a pilot biogas plant at the Kumasi Abattoir is being supported with an amount of €1,280,000 and will last for 3 years. Prof. Ahmad Addo, the Acting Director of TEC, is the National Project Director of this project and Mr. Edward Awafo is the Project Coordinator. The project partners include ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Energy and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Biofuel Production from Lignocellulosic Material (2GBIONRG) Project
The overall objective of the 2GBIONRG project is to develop sustainable technologies for production of 2nd generation biofuels (biogas, bioethanol and biodiesel) from lignocellulosic waste material in developing countries in Africa. In addition it is to utilise residuals from the production as fertilizer improving soil fertility and food security. The suggested technologies will make it possible to switch from a society depending more and more on fossil energy to a modern biomass based society. Ghana will be used as a model country to develop and adopt sustainable biofuel production systems for three different types of communities: a rural village, cooperatives and large towns. The project amount is €68,079 and is coordinated Mr. Francis Kemausour.
Action-Oriented Monitoring and Evaluation of Energy Access in Ghana
The (United Nations Development Programme) UNDP project on Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) will focus on developing a participatory system for monitoring and evaluating energy access programmes in Ghana in ways that empower people at the grassroots to take appropriate action on a continuous basis. It will build on and sharpen the existing GIS-based Energy Access Review (GEAR) Toolkit, developed by the Energy Center (TEC) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) as an interactive computer-based decision support system for compiling, analysing and presenting data for energy access policy and planning using Geographical Information System (GIS) techniques. The project is coordinated by Miss Gifty Serwaa Mensah (PhD Student) on behalf of TEC and funded with an amount of US$ 139,700.
Energy Efficient Rural Food Processing Utilising Renewable Energy to Improve Rural Livelihoods
The project aims to provide research which will support rural community business models for low and renewable energy input into optimised food processing which minimise loss and waste in the food value chains selected. The lead partner on this project is New Castle University (UK) with The Energy Center-KNUST (Ghana), Njala University ( Sierra Leone), JomoKenyata University of Science and Technology (Kenya), Stellenbosch University (South Africa), Kassel University (Germany) as implementation partners. The project is supported with an amount of € 824,069.00 and is coordinated by Dr. Lena Dzifa Mensah of the Mechanical Engineering Department on behalf of TEC.
Support to the African Climate and Development Society Convening Workshop
This project focuses on developing low emission development strategies and climate change resilience in Africa. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) sponsored a consultancy with TEC which provided support to the African Low emission Development Strategies Partnership (AfLP) Convening Workshop. The workshop was organised in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in April 2014. This consultancy amount is $37,099.00.
Consolidation of the ECOWREX GIS over ECOWAS Member States/ Development of Energy Access maps
The project focuses on promoting sustainable energy access through the use of geospatial technologies in West Africa. The project is spearheaded by ECREEE and with the following partners: TEC-KNUST, NOLVETIS S.A.S, University of Geneva, and Ministry of Energy, Cape Verde. Mr. Daniel Ladzagla of Geomatic Engineering Department is coordinating this project on behalf of TEC. The project is supported with an amount of € 1,090,878.71 from the European Union.
Promotion of National Renewable Energy Policies and Incentive Schemes in ECOWAS Member Countries.
The project was awarded by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) following an international competitive bidding process to TEC and its consortium partners - RENAC Renewables Academy (Germany), 2iE (Burkina Faso) and IFOK (Germany). This contract was worth US$72,500 and was for the training of energy policy makers, regulators and utilities in the ECOWAS Sub-region on instruments and mechanisms to strengthen renewable energy development and investments. The project coordinators are Mr. David Ato Quansah (Department of Mechanical Engineering) and Dr. George Obeng (Technology Consultancy Centre).
Climate and Resource Protection for Sustainable Development in Ghana.
This project is within the framework of the cooperation between the German State of North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) and Ghana, and it is aimed at supporting KNUST to become a centre of competence for climate and resource protection providing state- of-the-art studies, advisory services to public and private bodies and serves as a show- room for environmental technologies. GesellschaftfürInternationaleZusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is contracted by the State Chancellery of NRW to facilitate this project. The cooperation involving WestfälischeHochschule Gelsenkirchen and TechnischeUniversität Dortmund focuses on Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, Waste management and Resource recovery.
An amount of €34,041 was released by GIZ for the first phase of this cooperation which has just ended. This project has provided funds for state of the art biogas testing equipment, sensors and other equipment for monitoring building energy consumption, biofuels generator, etc. In relation to this project, TEC is currently hosting Mr. Andreas Ahrenbog a bioenergy expert as a Research Fellow. Work is currently underway for phase 2 of the project. Prof Ahmad Addo coordinates this project.
Building a Reliable Energy Access Database to promote sustainable energy expansion in Ghana
The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) in conjunction with Energy Commission, Ghana, funded this project which focuses on Energy Access in Ghana. TEC was awarded an amount of € 90,923 for the project. The main output of the project will be a database of collated systemized energy access data collected from Government agencies and Energy distribution agencies (VRA/NED and ECG) which will be handed over to the Energy Commission, the main beneficiary of this project.The project coordinator is Gifty Serwaa Mensah.
Agro-Processing and sawmill wastes, a Biomass- Based Assessment for Grid Connected Electricity Generation
The Ghana Energy development and Access Project (GEDAP) is coordinated by Mr. John Ayer of the Department of Geomatic Engineering and is supported with an amount of GH¢ 136,887.50. The project is to review previous studies on agro-processing and sawmill waste nationwide and existing data in the use of agro-processing and sawmill waste and also to review literature on the use of agro-processing and sawmill waste for onsite electricity power generation.TEC is the main beneficiary and the projects partners include, Trama Techno Ambiental, Avda, Meridiana, Barcelona, Spain and Centre TecnologicForestal de Catalunya (CTFC), Solsona, Spain.