Solar treatment of biomass for power generation

This consortium of researchers based in the Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Uganda and the UK is researching solar biomass transformation to overcome the present constraints of energy storage, and is developing new hybrid renewable energy systems to integrate a combination of renewable energy sources.

Lay summary

Africa has a chronic shortage of clean renewable energy. Many areas are not connected to the grid. Renewable energy technologies have the potential for local power generation, but in their current state they do not provide a steady stream of energy and methods of energy storage are too expensive.

This project aims to fill the technology gap between cleaner fuel wood cooking stoves and solar panels by using solar power to treat biomass for energy storage and then use it to generate electricity through fuelling generators with biomass slurries. This electricity will then be integrated into renewable energy grids, complementing other established technologies.

To understand more about the research carried out in this consortium, read about the work of the PhD students supported through the RS-DFID ACBI:

  • Opio Miria, Makerere University, contributed to a case study produced for the UNESCO World Science Day for Peace and Development 2018.
  • Mwaka Ismail Juma, Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology, contributed to a case study produced for International Women's Day 2019.

Researchers from the consortium contributed to a case study for World Energy Day 2019, as well as a case study on stakeholder engagement and research uptake.

Proposed benefits to researchers and institutions

  • Increase in capacity and skills to tackle the challenge of universal access to clean modern energy
  • Students involved in the project will gain the chance to place their research into the context of global challenges
  • Development of training course modules on renewable energy technologies, entrepreneurial skills, dissemination and communication

Proposed benefits of research to society

  • Decrease in the cost of storing solar energy
  • Greater availability of electricity to keep up with the demand in Africa, and other countries
  • Increased capacity from hybrid renewable energy systems that use this new generating capacity