Researchers have discovered a new way of using Cocoa husks as a source of renewable energy to generate electricity.
The new technology, if successful, will provide electricity to about 85% of cocoa farmers living without electricity across the country.
Researchers have estimated that only 16% of cocoa growing communities in Ghana have access to electricity, while cocoa farmers in these areas under-utilize the husks that can be used as a source of energy to provide them with electricity.
The implementation of the Bio-Rural Energy Schemes for Ghana (IBRES), seeks to use cocoa husks as a source of renewable energy to provide electricity to rural and farming communities in the country.
The project, which is a joint venture between the University of Nottingham, The Brew-Hammond Energy Center (TBHEDC, KNUST), the Center for Energy Environment and Sustainable (CEESD, Ghana), and the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED), is sponsored by the Global Challenges Research Fund from the United Kingdom, UK.
At a day’s workshop that brought stakeholders working in the bio-energy sub-sector for impact acceleration at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, a Ghanaian UK-based Professor with the University of Nottingham, UK, Professor Jo Darkwa, explained that the raw materials generated from the cocoa husk which is usually left on the farms to rot have been identified and proven to have energy potential and contains adequate energy density after a sample was sent to UK for testing in 2018.
He said a prototype of the plant will be built at the KNUST campus to demonstrate the viability of the plant, and will seek more funding from the UK government to roll it out across the country if the piloting is successful.
Professor Darkwa indicated that there are other opportunities within the rural areas to be explored so as to incorporate other renewable energy resources into the scheme to ensure communities that lack basic energy services benefit from the project. He expressed confidence that the project will be a successful one.
“All that I would like to tell the government representative is that, they should make sure that all the government agencies across the country are aware of what is going on. Campaign and awareness are very important part of the whole project”, he said.
The Centre for Energy Environment and Sustainable Development Ghana, one of the partners with the project, said getting the raw materials from the farmers to sustain the project will not be difficult since more farmers will be contacted to provide the resources.
A representative from the Center, Dr Julius Ahiekpor , told Citi News the project will not solely depend on the cocoa husk, but will be complemented with other sources of renewable energy.
The workshop brought together representatives from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Food and Agriculture Ministry, Non-Governmental Organizations, farmer groups and other stakeholders.
By: Hafiz Tijani |citinewsroom.com|Ghana