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German grant will support hybrid waste-to-energy plant in Ghana

Ghana’s quest to turn its waste challenges to profit received a boost with the recent signing of a EUR 5 million grant facility with Germany to build a 400 kW-demonstration hybrid waste-to-energy plant. The overall objective of the project, which fits into the country’s renewable energy plan imbedded in the 31 Nationally Determined Commitments, in response to the Lima Call for Action, is to develop waste into energy using hybrid solar PV, biogas and a pyrolysis plant.

A signing ceremony was held on July 29, 2019, in Accra, Ghana between Anja Karliczek (left) German
Federal Minister of Education and Research, and Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Ghana’s
Minister for Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation marking the start of a joint hybrid
waste-to-energy plant project (photo courtesy GNA).

According to a statement, the project will help advance Ghana’s quest to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda, as a lead implementer and a country whose President is a co-chair of the SDGs advocates at the United Nations.

Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Ghana’s Minister for Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation and Anja Karliczek, German Federal Minister of Education and Research held a brief signing ceremony on July 32, 2019, in Accra, Ghana.

The project implementation, which will commence from October 1, 2019, to September 1, 2023, would involve three German Research Partners, six Ghanaian Research Centres, two industrial partners from Germany, three partners from Ghana and host of others.

Anja Karliczek stated that the 12 000 tonnes of waste generated in Ghana daily would be put to good use and would provide employment. German researchers had innovated solutions and would collaborate with their counterparts in Ghana to ensure the success of the project and the potential of building ten more plants by 2040 on a 1 to 5 MW power output scale.

Byproducts such as biochar and digestate from the pyrolysis and anaerobic digestion process respectively could be used to generate business spin-offs.

For instance, biochar and biogas digestate can be used as soil enhancer to boost agriculture production in farming communities. The packaging and distribution can lead to sustainable job creation and contribute to Ghana Government “planting for food and jobs’ agenda, Karliczek said.

Furthermore, the treatment of solid waste had a potential benefit ensuring a cleaner environment; stop the transmission of deadly diseases such as cholera and malaria. The utilisation of biogas as a domestic cooking fuel could help reduce indoor air pollution as a result of using charcoal and firewood that cause acute respiratory infection.

Further existing cooperation

Professor Frimpong-Boateng said that the support would further deepen the bilateral cooperation between the two countries that began over 60 years. The success of the programme, he said, would create an opportunity for German business to take advantage to extend their products and services in the area of waste to energy to Ghana.

He noted that the use of bioenergy to generate electricity or for thermal applications instead of fossil fuel would contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In addition, the utilisation of the bio-waste potential to produce bioenergy would significantly reduce the amount of GHG emissions in the form of avoided methane emissions.

As part of the project, he explained that a policy guideline document on the hybrid waste-to-energy system and business models for hybrid solar PV, biogas and pyrolysis plants would be developed.

The project, he stated, would include; the training of two post-doctorates, three doctorates, ten masters’ students, 20 academics professionals on hybrid biogas pyrolysis systems for waste treatment to enable them to lead and mentor other African Countries in the design, construction, and maintenance of biogas and biomass plants.

The Minister expressed appreciation to the government of Germany and gave the assurance that the project would be implemented successfully to derive the intended benefit. He said the country was ready to further collaborate with Germany to reclaim degraded lands and restore polluted water bodies and protect biodiversity.

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