Sustainable energy through mobile payment

With an imminent and growing demand for energy in refugee camps and rural communities, single unit solar power solutions is an obvious and sustainable solution.

However, finding a business solutions that allows for proper quality solutions that are truly sustainable, has been a tough challenge.

The Danish company M-PAYG has developed a leasing solution where families can rent a complete solar housing unit with all the necessary plugin options and pay in small rates through already existing mobile payment systems.
The solution has already been implemented in Tanzania for some time. However, the introduction to a refugee camp/settlement needs testing. This is done in close collaboration with the Danish NGO DanChurchAid.

Besides making sustainable power available through mobile micro payments, the project will improve the relationship between refugees and host community through mutual trade and economical dependence.

Partners: M-PAYG, DanChurchAid

Where: Bidibidi, Uganda

This project is supported by the Danish Industry Foundation under the “Deciphering the Relief Aid Market” project. Read more…

Low-cost bio-oil from Prosopis

The noxious weed Prosopis is an invasive species that plagues large parts of arid and semi-arid Africa. The plant grows rapidly, destroys other types of vegetation, forms impenetrable thickets, reduces precious underground water resources and displaces valuable pasture species.
Furthermore, thorns on the plant can do serious damage to animals and humans and is strong enough to puncture car tires.

The Danish company MASH Biotech ApS has developed a method that will potentially turn the pest into an asset.
Based on the company’s experience in building bio-oil reactors fuelled by different types of biological waste in India, MASH Biotech will develop a demonstrator Prosopis Pyrolis Reactor that will turn the plant into bio-oil and fertilizer as well as enough bio-gas to fuel the reactor itself.

Both bio-oil and fertilizer will help solve the pressing need for energy and food. At the same time the reactor will create jobs and value in the local community.

The reactor will be developed and tested at the refugee camp in Kakuma in Kenya’s Turkana region. The solution will be designed to fit in a container, making it easily scalable and applicable in many other places.

Partners: MASH Biotech ApS, Kenya Red Cross Society

Where: Kenya

This project is supported by the Danish Industry Foundation under the “Deciphering the Relief Aid Market” project. Read more…

Briquetting machines for industrial and small-hold purposes

The Danish briquette machine manufacturer C. F. Nielsen aims at selling their machines on the emerging markets in Africa. The advanced briquetting technique has a huge potential for both large industries and small-scale cooking.

Biodegradable material such as waste form agricultural production, sawdust and discarded straw and leaves make out the raw material needed to produce briquettes for burning.

The Danish company C.F. Nielsen has more than 70 years experience in producing and refining machines that can press the material into briquettes with a high burning value.

C. F. Nielsen’s key business is production of high-level briquetting machines for industrial purposes, but with support from access2innovation, the company I now doing market research in order to develop a smaller scale version of the machine for domestic or village use.

“We believe that there is an enormous potential market for our products in Africa,” says CEO Mogens Slot Knudsen. “Both for industrial units, but also on a smaller level if we can find the right business model with the right size of our press. It is very, very interesting.”

In order to adapt to the African market, C. F. Nielsen has set up an engineering unit to help set up turn-key installations in Africa.

For more information, please contact project manager Ole Stein at access2innovation.

Visit the C.F. Nielsen website.

Power Hub

Small, decentralized off-grid solar cell installations are booming in East Africa. Although cheap at first, most current solutions are not very energy efficient and the costs end up running high.

The Power Hub is based on the idea of setting up a central solar plant in close proximity to a refugee camp and distributing power to the consumers through mobile battery leasing rather than an electric grid.

Each battery comes with a powerful LED lamp, USB charging, FM Radio and 12V charging sockets for other equipment. The battery is built with a GSM/LoRa/WiFi module and can be surveyed and controlled through a cloud-based server. The concept is that the person who rents or leases the battery pack can use the pack to make money through charging peoples’s phones or other electric equipment.

The concept is thought to build a more positive relationship between refugee camps and surrounding villages through a mutual commercial dependence.

Partners: PP Power (lead), CX Power ApS, Liab ApS, Neogrid Technologies

Where: Kenya

This project is supported by funding from the PIVØ-programme. Read more…

Energy hubs

A large part of the rural population in East Africa will not be able to access the electrical grid for years to come.

93 percent of the population in Uganda is currently solely depending on noisy and polluting diesel generators and kerosene for lighting.

The partnership between WWF and the Danish company Remergy has developed and tested mini-grid solutions enabling even small communities in accessing clean affordable energy at a commercial driven basis.

The Kasese district in the South Western region of Uganda faces serious energy and environmental  challenges; thus it has been appointed Clean Energy Champion District by the WWF, local government, the local district and number of other key stakeholders.

The goal is ensure 100 percent access to clean energy in the district by 2020. 

Today, the energy hub is providing energy to 100 households to an affordable price. The villagers are saving a third compared to their energy alternatives before.

Latest update:
On August 23rd, 2016, WWF and the Danish energy provider ENIIG announced that they were launching a collaboration about setting up 35 new mini grids in Uganda - primarily in Kasese and neighboring districts.

Read more....

For further information, please refer to Ole Stein, program manager at the access2innovation secretariat.

Over the years, access2innovation has produced several video specs on the energy hubs in Kasese:


Briquette production from Prosopis

In the Turkana area in Kenya near the Kakuma refugee camp, the invasive plant prosopis is harvested and used for charcoal in a highly ineffective way.

Led by the Danish briquetting experts C. F. Nielsen, this project aims at developing a small scale briquetting press that makes it possible to produce and sell energy-efficient briquettes from local prosopis to the people in the area.

The project should lead to organised farming of either prosopis or a similar plant.

Bio fuel is by far the most common fuel used for cooking. With millions of tons of prosobis readily available the project will potentially be able to provide energy-efficient fuel for millions of people.

Partners: C. F. Nielsen A/S (lead), International Woodland Company A/S, Quercus Group

Where: Kakuma, North Western Kenya

This project is supported by funding from the PIVØ-programme. Read more…

Multiple source power supply

Despite abundant amounts of solar energy in Africa, the continent is still lacking solar parks to meet the growing need for access to clean energy and lightning.

With funding from access2innovation since 2014, the two Danish companies CO2 Light and Nordjysk Elhandel has demonstrated a range of PV and lightning solutions and recently launched the company; Danish Sun Energy to further grasp the market opportunities in Eastern Africa.

For more information please contact Ole Stein, program manager at the access2innovation secretariat

Circular energy

70-80 % of the population in rural East Africa have no access to electricity and no means to buy fodder or fertilizer – stunting the development of efficient and sustainable production.

The idea behind Circular Energy is to develop a system where biomass production (planting new types of rapidly growing trees) is combined with production of animal fodder and fertilizer (nitrogen) collection.

The project includes developing suitable boilers that can produce electricity to run irrigation systems, schools and smaller companies.

The Circular Energy project could potentially have a large impact, addressing both energy- and food issues in rural East Africa. The idea at the first stage is to develop Circular Energy on 120 ha of in total 1.200 ha along the Tana River in Kenya. The village of Mulanjo has given Kenyan Red Cross (KRC) and Little Dane the 1.200 ha plot for a joint project.

The main objective is to electrify the area and to make clean water available. According to the tribe elders, this is the most acute need in order to develop further.

Partners: Little Dane ApS (lead), Holmlund Agriculture, Sustainable Solutions IVS, Maskinfabrikken Faust, Aarhus University

Where: Kenya

This project is supported by funding from the PIVØ-programme. Read more…

Small scale bio fuel production

Today, the most common fuel applied for cooking in Africa is forest tree and charcoal. This leads to poor health caused by inhaling the heavy smoke - a condition that primarily affects women and children.

Based on a low cost fermentation technology, the company Scale BioFuel has developed a solution to produce second generation biofuel that can provide a viable alternative to existing solutions.

With support from access2innovation the company is now further developing the solutions as well a business case in Uganda - in close partnership with researchers and local private sector institutions.

In March 2015, Scale BioFuel and partners were granted EUR 278.000 by the Nordic Climate Fund with the purpose to further elaborate on introducing a low cost and scalable technology that enables bioethanol production at a competitive price.

For more information please visit: the Scale BioFuel website, or refer to Ole Stein, program manager at the access2innovation secretariat.

Insulated piping for solar heating and cooling

ea energy specialises in sturdy insulated piping that minimises energy loss when transferring heat or cold in industrial systems.

It is a well-known fact that the most significant loss of energy in any cooling or heating system occurs when the heat or cold needs to be transported.
By using specialised, high-grade insulated piping solutions from the Danish manufacturer Logstor, ea energy can reduce the energy loss to an absolute minimum.

Often overlooked, piping is a crucial way for processing industries to keep their energy costs down.

ea energy has years of experience on the European, North American and South African markets, but is now also focusing on East Africa as part of the Danish Cleantech Group – a collaboration between Danish Sun Energy, CO2 Light, Aalborg CSP, Logstor and ea energy.

The Danish Cleantech Group has established sales offices in Kenya and Uganda and offers a range of innovative green tech solutions that have been tailored specifically to fit the East African market and financial structures.

ea energy has been granted support by access2innovation to identify new partners within the processing industries in Kenya.

Read more at the ea energy website.

For more information, please contact Ole Stein at acces2innovation.

Solar cells in the village of Kayanja, Uganda

Renewable energy

Africa is undergoing unprecedented and sustained growth. By 2050, the continent will be home to at least 2 billion people – twice as many as today – with 40 percent living in rural areas.

In 2010, about 590 million African people (57 percent of the continent's entire population) had no acess to electricity, and 700 million (68 percent of the population) were living without decent cooking facilities.

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