Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Eco Power Africa - A Mini Power Grid Startup
Eco Power answers a need for more mini-grid energy startups across the continent.Their product could be self built or purchased:
biomass lying about, such as lumber sawmills, farmers or food processors. Other entrepreneurs will have to obtain biomass. Since biomass is waste by-product, the main expense will not be the biomass itself but transporting it to the gasifier.A need for decentralized micro-grids:
the solution is modeled on the telecom breakthrough in Africa. Following the central-station model as practiced in the West meant that Africa had no tele–communications for decades. Cellular telephone technology allowed local entrepreneurs to build small, cheap, and rapidly deployable cell towers. Cellular technology enabled Africa to avoid replicating the expensive centralized model.Coupled with biogas generation, mini-grids like these could solve the energy power generation problem.
The same can be done with electricity generation. Instead of investing billions in constructing major power stations, transmission towers, and distribution and metering infrastructure, it is much easier to deploy micro-to-small power generating nodes that will supply electricity efficiently on a localized basis.
By default, power generation in most of Africa is already Distributed Generation. Institutions and individuals that can afford it use diesel genrators. But diesel is much too expensive, inefficient and polluting.
Because there is no readily available distribution network for conventional fossil fuels – gas, oil or coal – distributed generation in Africa will depend on the advent of green technologies.
EcoPower Africa’s solution is to generate electricity with locally available biomass fuel, making electricity much more affordable.