A research project on the use of waste to produce electricity in host communities for their own use is being implemented in Ghana.
The four-year project (2020-2023) known as the ‘Hybrid Waste-to-Energy (W2E) Pilot Project in the Ashanti Region,’ is being funded by the German government with an amount of €5.8 million.
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Ghana, through the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) in Accra conducted feasibility studies on renewable energy sources in Ghana under the supervision of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Around the same time two studies were also commissioned to examine the Bioenergy production and utilisation in Ghana (BioGRAG) project and the possibility of producing bioenergy from cocoa husk.
The three culminated into the W2E project with the common objective of finding an appropriate treatment pathway for municipal solid waste generated in Ghana.
In an interview at a stakeholder consultation in Accra, the Executive Director of the Centre for Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development (CEESD), Dr Julius C. Ahiekpor, noted that Ghana faced a lot of challenges with waste.
He said one of the most sustainable ways of waste management was to make use of the waste by doing recycling, reuse and conversion of waste into other products.
“Then it is no more waste but a resource / raw material. We think it’s the opportune time for us to implement this and scale it up to other communities so that at the micro level we will be solving a problem and also contribute to national development,” he said.
The W2E project
Dr Ahiekpor explained that the needed resource in terms of waste which was difficult to handle will be converted into electricity.
Now at the construction stage, the pilot project will produce 400 Kilowatts of energy at the Atwima Nwabiagya District in the Ashanti Region and will require about three thousand tonnes of waste annually (fermentable and other organic waste).
“In other jurisdictions this is not a new concept and in Ghana we have policies that promote the use of these technologies just that we have not given them any trial. We hope this project will give us the framework to be able to see what is workable and what is not,” he said.
In terms of sustainability, he said business and financial models would be developed as part of the project that would make the project successful even at the end of the project life.
He said the target was to scale up the project to about 10 different communities across the country.
“If this becomes a success, then we are going to reduce the waste disposal of the community by 30 to 50 per cent for their social and economic benefit. We are doing this together with all the necessary stakeholders,” he stated.
The Director of Capacity Building, WASCAL, Prof. Daouda Kone, commended the project partners for the work done so far and assured them of WASCAL’s continuous support.