ELECTRICITY

electricity | eletricidade

KUDURA’s ability to generate reliable, clean energy together with the ability to produce potable drinking water is what makes it both a unique, renewable energy solution for rural electrification and the most appropriate sustainable solution. When you generate electricity from renewable energy sources in a minigrid type solution, you can address all of a rural family’s energy needs as well as power small businesses, fight climate change and in KUDURA’s case, at the same time improve health by reducing water-borne and respiratory illnesses.

There are many methods and systems for the generation of electricity; from solar photovoltaic to geothermal, wind turbine to biomass gasification. For affordability, ease of installation and maintenance as well as common input source materials found in rural Africa, we have focused the KUDURA solution around Solar Photovoltaic and Biomass Gasification (biofuel).

BIOMASS GASIFICATION

Did you know that agricultural waste like maize cobs, groundnut shells, rice husks or even wood chips and prunings can be used to generate electricity? Using a 2nd generation bio-fuel process called gasification, where biomass feedstock is heated up >700ºC to produce a combustible gas, usually coined as syngas or producer gas, which generates regular electricity that can power rural businesses, communities, schools and clinics with locally available resources, once seen as waste.

In addition, a by-product of the process is that some of the carbon is captured as bio-char or charcoal. This bio-char can be used as briquettes for cooking or to increase soil fertility, which will ultimately yield higher quality crop output.

Biomass provides for a flexible, reliable and low cost waste-to-energy strategy. This is particularly interesting in rural areas where energy is expensive to generate and agricultural waste is abundant. Biomass gasifiers can be supplied from a wide variety of biomass sources, from agriculture and food processing activities to lumber processing. Under seasonal variability, this supply chain can be secured and/or complemented with forestry residues from a sustainable management programme e.g. short-rotation cycle plants or coppicing plants are usually appropriate.

By transforming waste into renewable energy, we create a sustainable closed-loop cycle by adding value to what was once perceived as “garbage”. These green energy solutions offer a residue management solution where the by-product is reintroduced back into the soil, sequestering carbon whilst producing life-changing pre-paid energy services to a community, farm, factory or local business.

Thus this renders biomass gasification as a carbon-neutral emission source since plants draw CO2 out of the atmosphere to grow (photosynthesis), releasing it back upon burning to generate energy – in some instances is can even be carbon-negative as carbon is rendered inert after gasification, effectively being sequestrated in the soil in the form of bio-char (whereas biogenic carbon is recycled naturally in the carbon cycle by oxidising with O2 to create CO2).

Now, with KUDURA generating electricity by means of biomass gasification, maize flour can be produced locally by using the remaining cobs or rice can be parboiled to ensure maximum quality using its husks.

The integration of energy alternatives like biomass gasification technology into the KUDURA sustainable development solution provides a series of benefits to off-grid communities when local conditions are favourable, namely:

Affordable energy – KUDURA can generate electricity at 0.1-0.4€/kWh for whole rural communities on biomass

New power source for remote areas where no diesel fuel or national grid are available or when solar-PV based systems cost get prohibitive for high power demand systems or productive energy uses (like grain mills or kilns)

Easily scalable power – from 20 up to 200kW

Creating added value for agriculture/food processing businesses using waste in a sustainable closed loop fashion.

Fuel flexibility – different feedstocks can be alternated to cope with seasonal availability or combined together in case of scarcity.

SOLAR PV

Because solar photovoltaic (solar PV) is an ever-more competitive and mature renewable energy technology, solar PV power is the main option for electricity generation in KUDURA.

Solar PV modules capture solar energy that charges a no-maintenance battery bank to provide power at night or whenever necessary. Using high-end quality inverters to ensure highest efficiency and long battery service life, electricity is converted from DC to AC current to provide energy to 50+ homes concurrently as well as small business ranging from phone charging services, barber shop, carpentry etc. via a mini-grid. Power is limited electronically at 50W or up to 250W per home, providing more than enough power for compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) or LED lamps, mobile phone charging and powering a radio and small TV at 125W to 500W respectively. KUDURA can easily scale up and adapt to future demand increases.

This may seem like very little power to those of us living in the developed world, but it is in fact more than enough to provide for the basic, initial needs of a family living in a rural village. In fact, a typical solar system installation with KUDURA has enough power for family needs as well as starting a small business.

In addition, solar PV can be combined with other types of renewable energy sources like wind turbines or micro-hydro turbines for better year-round performance and optimised solution – e.g. combining solar energy during summertime/dry season when production is greatest with hydroelectric turbines during the winter/rainy season can be an example of a cost-effective hybrid system. As a backup solution and catering for higher power demand situations, a self-start diesel generator set or a biomass gasifier-generator set are provided.

And because we provide high quality technology components that have been proven to work in rural Africa with a remote telemetry monitoring system as well as worry-free installation and lifetime maintenance, this system is a reliable, proven and secure sustainable energy minigrid solution for electricity in rural areas; for communities living off-grid or for commercial businesses that are connected to the grid but would like more reliable electricity or would like to lessen their dependence on expensive diesel and switch to renewable energy generation for their business.