Transforming waste into energy in Ghana

27.08.2019 - Article

In Accra, waste is on the streets and unregulated. This is a serious risk to public health, and leads to greenhouse gas emissions. Waste2Energy is working on a solution to this problem, writes the German Research Institute for Sustainable Development (FONA).

The project Waste2Energy's goal is to generate energy from municipal waste in a climate-smart way.
The project Waste2Energy's goal is to generate energy from municipal waste in a climate-smart way.© Dr. Narra

German research institutions and companies are working with Ghanaian universities and businesses to develop a novel, hybrid waste-to-energy plant based on photovoltaics, biogas, and pyrolysis. The plant will use energy from the sun as well as various degradation processes to convert waste to green energy. This approach will reduce CO2 emissions from the uncontrolled decomposition and burning of waste and will also enable the production of fertilizer. In addition, the project's planned 400 kilowatt demonstration plant will create up to 50 jobs.

In July in Accra, Federal Minister Anja Karliczek joined Ghana's Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation Prof. Dr. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, who studied in both Ghana and Germany, in wishing the project partners every success in their venture.

Waste2Energy will pool the expertise and experience of German and Ghanaian research institutions and open up new opportunities for German companies in the region. The Waste2Energy project will demonstrate how technologies developed in Germany can be established and implemented cost-effectively in West Africa.In the long run, up to ten large-scale plants could be constructed in Ghana alone, which could provide jobs for some 1,000 people. The Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) will provide 4.6 million Euro in funding to Waste2Energy, which will begin work at the end of this year.

Statement from Dr. Narra (University Rostock):

“It is a great honor for us, from the University of Rostock, to coordinate the Waste2Energy project in Ghana. With this project, we aim to solve two main challenges which Ghana is presently facing with respect to waste management and energy production.With the first research Hybrid Waste to Energy pilot plant, we will create a model in Ghana that will support sustainable waste management, promote electrification in off-grid regions and serve as an incubator for new start-ups along the value chain. This project would create a huge impact in scientific, technological, environmental and economic benefits to both the countries creating various successive activities even beyond the project. The project not only creates new jobs, but also exciting research questions, which we will take on. The expansion of the model into other parts of the country is a great concern for us in order to contribute nationally to environmentally sound waste management and energy supply. I am pleased to finally be able to carry out the project together with my project partners.”

Background information: Everyday in Ghana, over 12,000 tonnes of municipal waste is disposed of without any controls. The decomposing waste not only presents a serious risk to public health, but also generates significant greenhouse gas emissions, with roughly a quarter of Ghana's overall emissions resulting from the household waste sector.


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