One of the biggest barriers to diffusion of electricity in Africa is the establishment of electricity grids and power supplies. The reasons are high prices for both plants and customers, poor opportunities for installation and measurement in houses and households, that acquire illegal access to electricity.
Due to this it has become popular with small decentralized off grid solar cell installations, which do not need to be connected to a power supply. The advantage is that they are cheap to buy, but unfortunately most of the solutions are not very energy efficient and therefore, their use is expensive in the long run.
Power Hub functions as a combination of the two by installing a central solar cell system in connection with e.g. refugee camps and from there distribute the power via a battery, which is connected to a control unit, that controls energy consumption and payment.
Partners: PP Power, Neogrid Technologies, Liab and Aalborg University
Many Africans in slums go to inhumanly buried latrines, where the stools sometimes run into open sewers. Sometimes so-called "flying toilets" are used, which means that a plastic bag works as a mobile toilet bowl, which can then be thrown away.
The One Stop Shop project cuts health risks arising from unhygienic toilet habits and lack of access to clean water and sanitation, which is a major problem in poor areas. The users pay a small amount to use the facilities in the toilet building and in return, they get access to good hygiene, as well as a voucher, they can use on clean water and hygiene items in the One Stop Shop's shop.
Among other things, the clear hygiene improvement has resulted in no outbreak of cholera in the area since the construction of the facilities. There are plans to continuously integrate a sewerage system, that will convert wastewater into renewable energy. In this way, in addition for being a social project, it will also become an environmentally sustainable project.
Partners: DMS Africa, Enviclean, Duckwise and Aalborg University
Traditional pasteurization systems work by heating the liquid between 70 and 90 degrees, and then cooling it down again. Instead, Lyras has developed a plant that can cold pasteurize with the help of UV light. The method requires both lower energy and water consumption, compared to current pasteurization plants, which results in energy savings of 90 % compared to current pasteurization methods.
The treatment is gentler, which allows the milk to maintain more vitamins and proteins. At the same time, cold pasteurization kills more bacteria, which means longer shelf life and lower health risks for consumers. The system occupies less space and use far less energy, and therefore, it is also possible for small communities in developing countries to utilize the technology.
Partnere: Lyras, NJ Seperationsteknik, Nielsminde, Treco and Aalborg University
Briquetting of Prosopis
Biofuel is the most common energy resource in cooking. The fuel is extracted from e.g. logging, but also the invasive plant Prosopis is harvested for burning. However, the current burning of biofuels is associated with an unnecessarily high environmental impact and is also highly inefficient.
The idea of the project is to develop a small briquette press, which will enable the production and sale of energy efficient briquettes of locally harvested Prosopis to local residents. Since there are several million tonnes of Prosopis, optimizing the energy conversion of Prosopis, will potentially enable the supply of energy efficient fuel to millions of people.
On an ongoing basis, the purpose will be to make the cultivation of Prosopis organized, in order to get the best yield. In this way, the plant goes from being an invasive species that needs to be eradicated, to being an effective source of biofuel. Throughout the project, the briquette press has been tested for the purpose of briquetting other types of biowaste and has also been used with residual waste from the production of pineapple.
Partners: C.F. Nielsen, Quercus Group, MASH Energy, DTU and WWF
Green Agro Cooling Chain
More than half of the crops harvested in East Africa are wasted due to poor cooling and storage conditions. The problem is found especially in rural areas where 70-80 % of the population lives.
The purpose of the Green Agro Cooling Chain is to develop small cooling units that allow the farms to store and process products after harvest, before being transported to the market. The cooling chain consists of simple, mobile collection sites, where crops are protected from the sun and kept cool, before being moved to larger cooling facilities, where they are sorted, packaged and stored, until they are distributed.
If current population growth continues, it means that food production will increase 70 % by 2050. There is great potential in meeting this demand in Africa by reducing waste, as is intended with the cooling units.
Partners: SolarVenti, Aros Teknik, PlanEnergi and DTU
Water by Sun
One of the biggest problems with existing water pump systems in Africa is that they are expensive, often breaks within a short period of time, and that they are rarely being repaired when they break.
The Water by Sun water pump is a simple and reliable water pump system, based on a new technology that is affordable, wear-resistant, requires a minimum of maintenance and which is made of easily accessible components. Hence, above mentioned challenges with current pump systems is incorporated in the water pump system design and in an effort to meet the high demand for affordable and long-lasting pump solutions.
The pump is powered by steam, which is produced by utilizing concentrated solar power. By utilizing thermal energy from the sun, it can generate water steam in a unique system, that in this way, can get groundwater to the surface.
Partners: Water by Sun, LSM Pumper, CC Consult and Erhvervsakademi Dania.
Greening of Industries
Industries in developing countries generally have very poor efficiency when it comes to energy and water. Thus, there is great market potential for Danish companies in offering solutions, and at the same time achieving environmental benefits, that can optimize value chains, i.e. production, distribution and consumption.
Since energy optimizations are expensive, it is necessary to develop a concept where optimization can be done, using new and adapted solutions from the partners involved. The goal is to find a generic solution based on steam, that can cover all industries.
The result will be based on scans and measurements of the steam link, in order to clarify, where in the system there are losses. Depending on the results, it is necessary to examine, whether prefabricated pipes should be used or whether the existing pipes can be insulated.
Partners: EA Energy, LR Marine and Industry, Logstor, LE34, WWF and Aalborg University
Modular cooling / freezing facilities for the African food market
A major problem in almost any agricultural value chains in Africa is that 40-50 % of the products produced are lost, or loose a large part of their value, due to quality degradation. One of the reasons is that it is not possible to cool the produce, which means that decay and bacterial growth occur more frequently and happens at a faster pace. The total market value of e.g. vegetable production in Kenya alone, is estimated to be USD 940 million annually, which means that approximately USD 600 million are lost each year.
There is great demand for sustainable cooling / freezing facilities for new and smaller food companies, which as the company grows and expands their production, can be expanded to larger facilities.
At present, the plan is for the modular cooling systems to be established and developed around the storage of freshly caught fish.
Partners: TechSolutions, Multibyg, Buus køleservice and Aalborg University
2.1 billion people currently do not have access to safe drinking water. This causes an extreme environmental impact through deforestation for firewood, releasing large amounts of CO2. For those who cannot afford charcoal or firewood, waterborne illnesses become a serious problem. 80 % of diseases in Africa are linked to bad water and sanitation conditions.
SolarSack is a water container that can purify water by direct sunlight, without using any chemicals and at a price far cheaper, than any available alternative, delivering the same quality of drinking water. The material provides great shelf life and is very easy to ship and distribute in crisis situations. As the only product on the market, SolarSack provides a “point of use” solution, purifying the water at the user’s house, and eliminating the risk of recontamination that could happen with a centralized system. The purification process is approved by WHO.
The SolarSack kills 99.9999 % of bacteria, and 99.9% of other pathogens. Another impact is 600 times less CO2 than boiling with charcoal, and job creation through a distribution model, based on local small-scale sales agents and future local production.
Partners: SolarSack, Huse Design, Probeco and The University of Copenhagen
The world’s water supply will fall 40 % short before 2030. A reason for this is, that more than 70 % of the global freshwater is used for irrigation.
SmartFarm has developed a decision support system for irrigation, that helps farmers take better decisions on when and where to water, based on actual field conditions. Academic studies and practical results show, that by irrigating according to soil moisture sensors, up to 50 % water can be saved, and yield increased by another 30 %.
SmartFarm cuts hardware cost by adapting a less accurate, but vastly cheaper, sensor technology and provides a disruptive new business model, to reduce upfront costs even further. It is designed for farmers in emerging markets and uses machine learning, to provide automatic and actionable insights via SMS or smartphone. The technology ensures unprecedented range, even in tree-grooves. Sensors are optimized to run on batteries, to account for a dense tree cover, which does not allow for solar powered nodes.
Partners: SmartFarm, Senti, Juul International R&D, Eupry and Århus University
Off grid solar drying system
40 % of cultivated plant crops in East Africa are wasted, because they reach decay before use. Therefore, there is a great need for solutions, that can increase shelf life. Drying can extend the shelf life of most plant crops from 2 days up to 2 years. In this way, farmers are not forced to sell their crops at a few days’ notice, which otherwise significantly decreases the market price. At the same time, drying significantly reduces the weight of the product, which means that transport costs are also reduced significantly.
Therefore, easy access to drying will improve the situation in many ways for both farmers and consumers of various plant crops. The method is already used at farmer level, but there is a clear need for larger cooperatives, with greater ability to pay, to access the same type of technology. Based on this, SolarVenti is developing a drying unit fit for this purpose.
Partners: SolarVenti, Aros Teknik, PlanEnergi and DTU
Smart street lighting
Lack of lighting in public areas in developing countries causes a number of problems. This includes significant uncertainty associated with moving around after dark. There is the danger of being assaulted, and cars and other vehicles that cannot see pedestrians and as a result of this, frequent accidents.
Lighting will thus increase safety, but it will also include the opportunity of social activities and life in the cities after dark, which can help keep young people in the area, who otherwise often travel to larger cities.
Countless villages have no electricity to run street lighting, and if they do, streetlamps are usually so expensive, that they are only set up in limited numbers and are not maintained. In addition, they are often subject to theft or vandalism, with local residents wiring their own wires and utilizing the electricity.
It is therefore necessary to develop a streetlamp that is autonomous, maintenance-free, inexpensive and theft proof. Despite the challenges, the need is clear, and that is why People's Portable Power and their partners are developing street lighting that match the demands.
Partners: People’s Portable Power, Ideaal, Cre8tek and Aalborg University
Off grid solar kitchens
In large parts of East Africa, food in school is still being cooked on open fires and schools are therefore spending a lot of money on buying wood. Wood has become a scarce resource in much of East Africa and several UN organizations and NGO’s are therefore looking for alternative solutions to avoid deforestation.
In an effort to meet the need for alternative ways of preparing food, Pesitho has developed a solar powered micro kitchen, designed for families in refugee camps. There have been several inquiries for Pesitho to develop a version of the micro kitchen for use in schools. Pesitho therefore considers it an interesting opportunity to expand and develop a market that compliments the current focus on families and as a potential opportunity to increase the customer base in East Africa.
Partners: Pesitho, Ennogie, Bering Consult, Caritas Denmark and Århus University
Protein refinement of the Cassava plant
Cassava grows in the tropical regions of the world and is a root vegetable in the potato family. It feeds several millions of people and is therefore produced in large quantities.
YooNoon foresees a huge and untapped potential in extracting plant protein from discarded leaves and stems, which are currently not utilized in cassava roots and starch production and therefore end up as waste.
The leaves and stems, like the roots, contain hydrochloric acid and therefore cannot be consumed raw. However, they also contain large amounts of protein, minerals and vitamins. Extracting them contributes to the livestock feed market and it will be an opportunity for exporting plant proteins to the major food producers. The plant proteins can also be used for development of new forms of human nutrition.
Partners: YooNoon, Aalestrup Elektro, BiomassProtein, Aalborg Universitet and Århus University
Long distance drone
Developing countries are often characterized by large distances between areas of settlement and people. This makes it difficult to monitor areas in terms of e.g. refugees, disasters and wildlife.
This can have serious consequences in terms of theft, but can also result in unwanted visits by occupants. Occupants are persons, who settle illegally on a piece of land, after which they, during a given period of time, obtain official right to remain on, or alternatively relocate at the expense of the landowner.
In addition, it is often unclear where the individual plots are located, and in difficult terrain it becomes even more difficult to determine this. Matrix maps are therefore often without specified coordination, but solely based on natural boundaries, which means that the landowner often has no knowledge of where his land is bounded.
The purpose of the project is therefore to develop and produce an unmanned fixed-wing aircraft (drone), which must be able to accurately survey and map large and difficult-to-access land areas.
Partners: Nordic Wing, Copenhagen Technologies and Aalborg University
Optimization of PV solar power plants
Danish Sun Energy and partners decided to research the possibility of developing a larger mini grid with a capacity of +250 kW, as an alternative to the common ones in the size of 5-25 kW. The expectations are that larger mini grids are easier to finance, based on the assumption that investors are more interested in engaging in fewer large investments instead of several smaller ones. In this way, it becomes possible to produce electricity at a far lower price for the consumers.
Developing a plant like this enables the cost of electricity to decrease at least 10 times the cost of power produced by smaller mini grids. Additionally, the smaller mini grids are always subsidised in order to enable the consumers to afford it. Opposite to the small grids, that are not able to run air-conditioners, industries or season-based use, the larger ones can do this due to greater capacity.
Partners: Danish Sun Energy, Tilm Management, Sun 21, Advice4U2 and Aalborg University