US firm Aquion Energy has supplied two 106kWh salt water batteries to replace a diesel generator at an African project.
The off-grid microgrid will consist of two separate systems, both storing energy from 37 kW solar arrays, at the Loisaba Conservancy in Kenya, East Africa.
A damning report about battery recycling in Africa lays waste to the lead-acid industry’s claims that regulations are making it environmentally better and safer than lithium-ion.
The findings, from The Lead Recycling Africa Project, have found lead poisoning is severely under-reported in sub-Saharan Africa, where 800,000 tonnes (8% of annual world production) is made available each year for recycling.
Spanish genset OEM Himoinsa has provided 25 diesel gensets and lighting towers to a BIOCOM-managed biofuel production plant in Cacuso, Angola.
The equipment has a capacity from 180 kVA to 400 kVA and is designed to guarantee continuous supply of energy and to prevent any outages. Himoinsa’s products are also aimed to provide power to develop sugar cane production at the plant.
The plant commenced working this month and has started to generate 120MW of electricity with an expected annual output of up to 18,000 tonnes of sugar and 3,000 cubic metres of ethanol.
The biofuel plant currently supplies 220,000 homes in the region of Malanje. From 2019, the Biocom is planned to rise to 235MWh to increase the amount of power travelling through the Capanda/Cacuso high-voltage cable to power 440,000 homes. Biocom has estimated that the annual production will climb to 256,000 tonnes of sugar and 30m litres of ethanol.
"The project is beneficial to the population of Malanje and important for Himoinsa Angola's technical and commercial team,” said Himoinsa Angola's commercial director Osvaldo de Brito Simao.
Himoinsa also provides technical and maintenance services with staff on-site.
Biocom is a temporary consortium comprising of Sonangol, Sociedade Nacional de Combustíveis of Angola and the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.
General Electric is to provide three 25MW aeroderivative gas turbines to GEL Utility Limited (GEL) in Nigeria.
GEL is to install the trailer-mounted turbines at Nigerian’s National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) state oil refinery at Port Harcourt to overcome chronic local grid outages and generate uninterruptible power. The engines are designed to provide baseload and backup power to support refinery operations.
The 49-year-old Port Harcourt facility is the country’s largest oil refinery and aims to regain full capacity for refining from its present 30% output. It has a total maximum capacity of 210,000 barrels per day.
“This project was not only important in getting the refinery back into full operation, but also to support Nigeria's long-term economic interests by achieving optimum refining capacity," said GEL chief executive Akinowole Omoboriowo.
The chronic power outages have forced Nigeria to import large amounts of refined petroleum to meet the electricity demand. The installation of General Electric’s turbines is to reduce the imports.
The units will start operations this month.
GEL signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Nigerian National Power Petroleum Corporation to modernise also two other refineries in the country.
Power management company Eaton has opened an office in Nigeria’s capital Lagos.
“The development and use of innovative technologies is critical in increasing energy efficiency in Africa,” said Shane Kilfoil, managing director of Eaton’s Electrical Sector in Africa.
The company explained that the increasing demand of electricity due to Nigeria’s business growth has led to the decision to expand in Africa. “Africa’s energy challenges lie not in building more and larger power generation plants, but instead in investment in advanced power management technologies to enable businesses to do more with less energy in an increasingly resource constrained world,” Kilfoil added.
Nigeria’s federal government is currently restructuring the country’s electricity market. “The reform will enable Nigeria to overcome its huge deficit in the supply of electricity,” said Charles Iyo regional sales manager West Africa at Eaton.
The office in Lagos will also provide services to Western Africa. Eaton has several offices in Africa and 300,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing space on the continent for the production of its critical power supplies.
Schneider Electric has introduced two models of its next-generation uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) to Southern Africa markets.
The UPS models, standard SMT and extended run SMX, are designed to handle low, medium as well as high load levels and to protect equipment against blackouts and spikes.
The models are equipped with features such as an intuitive LCD user interface, switched outlet groups, battery management indicator and an emergency power off option.
“The enhanced intelligent battery ensures that the temperature compensated charger extends battery life and advanced algorithms recommend replacement date,” said Schneider Electric distribution account manager Christelle Larkins.
A “green” mode enables efficiencies of more than 97% and saves utility and cooling costs without compromising performance or reliability, according to the UPS supplier.
“It is a trusted product to protect critical data and equipment from power problems as the UPS supplies clean and reliable network-grade power,” said Larkins and added that the models have already been introduced to European, US and Australian markets.
The UPS units come with a three-year warranty and can be used in the telecom sector, banks, retail stores, laboratories, medical sectors and areas with security devices.
Ballard Power Systems and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) are to test a fuel cell-powered microgrid prototype in a remote rural community in South Africa.
The companies will power 34 households in a 12-month trial with a generator system that is fueled by methanol and uses platinum group metals as catalysts. The fuel cell system is integrated into a prototype off-grid solution incorporating a battery bank and inverters that operate within the microgrid.
The system is designed to provide a total of 15kW of power and generate peak power of 70kW.
"This field trial will provide valuable insight into the market requirements of off-grid communities,” said Andrew Hinkly, executive head of marketing at Amplats. South Africa’s Department of Energy (DOE) has chosen the rural community of Naledi Trust as a suitable site for the trial as the area does not have any access to grid power and expanding the national network would be too expensive.
The next phase of the project will be the installment of 200 to 300 units in remote villages across the country, according to Godfrey Oliphant, South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources.
Ballard and Amplats are collaborating with power utility company Eskom and South Africa’s DOE to conduct the field test.
Power supplier EDF Energy and World Bank Group member International Finance Corporation (IFC) have agreed to cooperate in the development of off-grid electrification in sub-Saharan Africa.
A first pilot project will start in Benin and provide electricity for 25,000 people in its first phase, using hybrid solar-diesel networks and two biomass fired power plants. Other countries such as Mozambique, Tanzania and Myanmar will follow at a later stage.
"Almost 1.3 billion people live without access to electricity in the world. Bringing power to these people is a major challenge that we must address”, said Bertrand Heysch de la Borde, senior manager for infrastructure in Africa at IFC.
The goal of the cooperation is to supply power to half a million people living in rural areas. EDF and IFC will also seek for sources of financing to potential projects and explore sustainable co-investment opportunities where necessary, according to the companies.
"Electricity is a vital product without which no real development is possible. Access to energy for rural populations, who are more often the most disadvantaged ones, allows poverty reduction by developing income-generating activities, while also promoting education, health, access to water, etc,” said Edouard Dahome, EDF director for Africa and access to energy.
IFC is currently providing off-grid power through its “Lighting Africa” initiative to almost 7m people in several rural regions in Africa while EDF delivers electricity to 500,000 people on the continent.
Indian-based solar and telecom equipment supplier ACME has struck a deal for a telecom firm to deliver lithium-ion batteries for energy storage solutions to Africa.
Details of the contract were not disclosed. ACME and its Korean partner Samsung SDI aim to sell up to 110MWh of lithium-ion batteries by 2016 in India and Africa in telecom, solar power, defense sectors and other related industries.
Harish Goyal, chief marketing officer at ACME highlighted that lithium-ion battery storage is the future of energy storage and added: “This green solution has revolutionized the way we store energy by efficiently managing the energy needs in the financially competitive market segment while being challenged environmentally."
“This will help users to replace their diesel generators and cut down on the carbon foortprint with higher efficiency," Goyal claimed. It is ACME’s business entry into Africa, a continent with a high usage of polluting fuel-based energy generation.
While battery storage systems have a miniscule share in the overall energy storage segment, it is estimated to capture 50% share globally in this segment by year 2020
The delivery to Africa is expected to be ready by September this year. ACME is currently replacing its lead-acid batteries with storage systems using Samsung SDI’s lithium-ion batteries.