SERC Scholarly Articles

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 32
  • Item
    The impact of the SERC based solar PV outreach training program in Kenya
    (Strathmore Energy Research Center, 2016-06-23) Da Silva, Izael Pereira; Ronoh, Geoffrey; Nalubega, Teddy; Njogu, Mwaura
    In this paper it is described how Strathmore Energy Research Centre developed an outreach project funded by USAID, National Science Foundation (NSF) to empower technical institutions to offer solar courses hence creating a pool of qualified technicians spread throughout the geography of the country. Presently the situation is that Kenya has around 1000 solar technicians working in the market with no formal solar PV training or accreditation. The National Industrial Training Authority ­ NITA, which regulates non­academic skills or craft based training, was helped by this project to develop a PV solar curriculum at three levels (T1/T2/T3) which empowers from craft level technicians to engineers to deal with design, installation and maintenance of PV systems from solar lantern up to utility size level. ERC, the Energy Regulatory Commission for Kenya has supported the initiative as technicians once trained can be accredited by and thus further strength the industry. By June 2016, which is the end of the program, Kenya is to have 1800 accredited technical personnel near almost every major town in the country. The paper describes the positive and negative aspects of this venture.
  • Item
    Electricity from wood-fired gasification in Uganda - a 250 and 10kW case study
    (IEEE, 2016-06) Buchholz, Thomas; Da Silva, Izael; Furtado, John
    Wood gasification systems have the potential to contribute to the rural electrification in Sub-Saharan Africa. This paper presents an operational and economic analysis of two wood-based gasification systems (250 and 10 kW) installed in Uganda in 2007. Both systems proved their potential to compete economically with diesel generated electricity when operating close to the rated capacity. At an output of 150 kW running for ~12 h/day and 8 kW running for ~8h/day, the systems produced electricity at US$ 0.18 and 0.34/kWh, respectively. A stable electricity demand close to the rated capacity proved to be a challenge for both systems. Fuelwood costs accounted for ~US$0.03/kWh for both systems. Recovery of even a small fraction of the excess heat (22%) already resulted in substantial profitability gains for the 250 kW system. Results indicate that replicating successful wood gasification systems stipulates integration of sustainable fuelwood supply and viable business models.
  • Item
    Electricity production from energy plantations : results from a feasibility and impact scoping study in Northern Uganda for a 50 MWe grid model
    (European Biomass Conference, 2007) DaSilva, Izael; Buchholz, Thomas; Tennigkeit, Timm; Timothy A., Volk
    Uganda currently faces an electricity crisis due to high fossil fuel prices and falling levels of lake Victoria affecting hydro power capacities. In this paper, we introduce a feasibility study for a 50 MW biomass fired power plant covering plantation design, conversion technology, environmental and social impacts, anticipated problems, overall economics, project status, and benefits of the project. The 30,000 ha project area consists mainly of Eucalyptus and native Markhamia lutea stands. Results indicate that this project can provide electricity to a competitive price which is considerably lower than generated by fossil fuel powered generators.
  • Item
    Modeling the profitability of power production from short-rotation woody crops in Sub-Saharan Africa
    (2012) Da Silva, Izael Pereira
    Increasing electricity supply in Sub-Saharan Africa is a prerequisite to enable economic development and reduce poverty. Renewable sources such as wood-fueled power plants are being promoted for social, environmental and economic reasons. We analyzed an economic model of a vertically integrated system of short-rotation woody crops (SRWC) plantations coupled with a combined heat and power (CHP) plant under Sub-Saharan African conditions. We analyzed a 5 MW (electric) base-case scenario under Ugandan conditions with a 2870 ha Eucalyptus grandis plantation and a productivity of 12 t ha 1 y 1 (oven dry basis) under a 5-year rotation. Plant construction and maintenance constituted 27% and 41% of total costs, respectively. Plantation productivity, carbon credit sales as well as land, fuel, labor & transport costs played an economic minor role. Highly influential variables included plant efficiency & construction costs, plantation design (spacing and rotation length) and harvest technologies. We conclude that growing 12e24 t ha 1 y 1 at a five year rotation can produce IRR’s of 16 and 19% over 30-years, respectively. Reducing rotation length significantly reduced short-term financial risk related to frontloaded costs and relatively late revenues from electricity sales. Long-term feed-in tariffs and availability of a heat market played a significant economic role. The base-case scenario’s 30-year IRR dropped from 16% to 9% when a heat market was absent. Results suggest a leveling-off of economies-of-scale effects above 20MW(electric) installations. Implementation-related research needs for pilot activities should focus on SRWC productivity and energy life cycle analysis
  • Item
    Reducing Carbon Emissions in a Third Level Educational Institution in Sub-Sahara Africa
    (Springer International Publishing Switzerland, 2015) Da Silva, Izael Pereira; Ronoh, Geoffrey; Ouma, Clint; Jerono, Caren
    The effort to reduce carbon emissions as the arguably most prevalent cause of global warming has been a positive trend in most African countries. One of the most successful strategies towards reaching that goal is the shift from fossil fuel power generation to renewable sources of energy such as wind, hydro, geothermal and solar. As Kenya sits on the equator it enjoys an all year round insolation between 5 and 6 kW/m2/day which is more than double of the average insulation in Germany, a country where solar energy is widely used. Taking advantage of a green line of financial support created by the French Government, Strathmore University embarked in a project to install a 600 kW roof-top, grid connected solar PV system to cater for its electricity needs. Having as a background of the newly instituted Feed-in-Tariff regulation, the system is designed to produce more than the required self-consumption such that the extra power can be sold to the utility via a PPA (power purchase agreement) and the revenue used to pay for the electricity used by the university at night. This paper describes the whole process from the technical, regulatory, educational and financial aspect highlighting the positive and negative events along the path such that it can be useful for other private sector institutions interested in greening their sources of energy, invest in renewable energy and thus reduce their operation costs. The authors have written this work having in mind not only countries in Africa but all other countries which sit in the so called “solar belt”.