EnerSHelF at the “Erneuerbare Energien” Podcast

At the end of July, Stefanie Meilinger from H-BRS and Steven Denk from WestfalenWIND were invited by EnergieAgentur.NRW to talk about the EnerSHelF project at their podcast “Erneuerbare Energien”. It is now available on their website.

© Fabian Tenk: Recording of the podcast with EnergieAgentur.NRW

In the podcast, Stefanie Meilinger and Steven Denk introduce EnerSHelF and answer various questions about the project. The questions range from broader perspectives on why reliable energy supply is so important for health facilities up to technical specifications of the system. This includes how to plan a PV system and how to integrate different parameters that influence its size and functionality. Furthermore, they elaborate on the interdisciplinarity of the project and underline the importance of a close collaboration with local partners. Listen to the podcast below to learn more!

Constant adjustments and improvement

© Mohammed Abass: Installation of the new inverter

Mohammed Abass from our project partner WestfalenWIND travelled to Ghana to adjust and improve the PV-hybrid power system at the health facility in Kologo. 

When putting research into practice, the reality often calls for adjustment of foregone planning. Just like other initiatives, the EnerSHelF project is undergoing constant evaluation, adjustments, and improvements. In our previous article, we described the process of training local enumerators to conduct quantitative interviews at health facilities across Ghana. Here, the training week was followed by a pilot study before the main survey at 200 health facilities started in July. The test run helped to identify any necessary changes in the questionnaire and survey design.

On the engineering side of the project, the solar-hybrid systems at the health facilities of our three pilot sites need constant checks to evaluate if they are running as planned. Many adjustments can be done remotely via sensors and software, which has been set-up by our technicians and researchers. However, certain work must be done at the site.

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Health facility survey: 80% of the data collection completed

Local enumerators at work
© EnerSHEelF

Update: In July, a group of ten local enumerators started interviewing 200 health facilities all over Ghana. Prior to the start of the survey, they have been trained by Ana Maria Pérez from Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg and Kennedy Alatinga from SD Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies in Wa. After an intensive training week and a test run of the survey in June, the data collection is well on track. Until now, around 80% of the health facilities have been interviewed. The survey is set to be completed during the month of August.  

Doing Remote Field Research: Training of Local Enumerators

One of the health facilties included in the pilot study
© EnerSHelF

Within Work Package 1.2, the team of the EnerSHelF project analysis the factors that are determining the adoption of technologies in Ghana – specifically of Solar PVs. To do so, a line of quantitative interviews with health facility managers is conducted.

Originally, the German partners of the EnerSHelF project planned to travel to Ghana to train local enumerators for the conduct of the interviews. The training is meant to ensure consistent results across the 200 interviews spread over the country. However, due to the global pandemic, the plans had to be revised. Instead of taking the plane to Ghana, Ana Maria Pérez from Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg and Kennedy Alatinga from SD Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies in Wa carried out the training online.

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A complete set-up of a PV-Hybrid power system at the Health-centre in Kologo, Ghana

In November 2020, our partner WestfalenWIND travelled to Ghana to install a PV-hybrid power system at Kologo, Ghana. In March 2021, Mohammed Abass returned to the health facility to finish the set-up. In this article, he illustrates the necessity, application, and management of the system.

Article & Pictures by Mohammed Abass

In Twi, one of the local languages in Ghana, dumsors are power cuts due to low voltage or high-energy demand. They happen frequently and can last for days or weeks. Dumsors impede the work progress of many companies and workplaces, especially health facilities, where electric power is needed the most. Sometimes, communities even must take turns to not overstrain the electricity grid. This is a huge problem for health centres, as they need cooling systems for their vaccines and other drugs that need to be stored at certain temperatures.

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Developing an Advisor and Planning Tool for Micro Grid Systems

https://unsplash.com/photos/b6vAiN3wYNw

In this interview, Silvan Rummeny from Cologne University of Applied Sciences highlights the development of the advisor and planning tool MiGUEL. It is an open-source-based library which is developed within the EnerSHelF project and later made available online.

You are involved in the EnerSHelF project within work package 3.3a. Can you tell us about your role in the project and the goal of your work package?

On the one hand, our role in the EnerSHelF project is to improve the knowledge of load data of Ghanaian hospitals. On the other hand, we aim to improve the implementability of micro grid projects in the Ghanaian health sector by developing an advisor and planning tool for such micro grids. The tool can be used to design and evaluate Photovoltaic (PV)-diesel-hybrid systems for Ghanaian health facilities. Our goal is to provide users with suitable solutions on how to change the microgrid design and with which planning strategy they can achieve their micro grid development goals and roadmaps in the most cost-effective way. The target groups are project developers, engineering companies, and private as well as public grid operators who want to implement micro or mini grids.

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New working paper published

In March 2021, a group of researchers from the EnerSHelF project published a paper in the IZNE Working Paper Series: “PV-diesel-hybrid system for a hospital in Ghana – Connection of a PV battery storage model to an existing generator model”. Matthias Bebber, leading author of the paper, summarizes the working paper in this article. You can access the paper on the H-BRS website. 

Summary by Matthias Bebber 

In our paper, we present a model of a grid-integrated PV-diesel-hybrid system. The model is based on an existing simulation tool from Cologne University of Applied Sciences and was further developed in the context of this paper. By means of real measurement data of PV yield and electricity consumption of a hospital in Ghana – collected in a period from February 2016 to 2017 – the behaviour of the hybrid system in different scenarios is examined. The influence of power outages and seasonal differences in solar radiation on the use of generator and electricity demand from the public power grid for different battery sizes is considered. Special attention is paid to the meteorological and atmospheric characteristics in Ghana, such as the rainy and dry seasons, as well as the harmattan, a seasonal wind in West Africa that carries a lot of dust.  

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Development of a Control for PV-Diesel-Hybrid Systems

Interview with Matthias Bebber from University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg (H-BRS)

While working for the EnerSHelF project, you are still enrolled as a student at H-BRS. Can you tell us a bit more about your academic background?

In 2015, I started studying mechanical engineering with a focus on mechatronics at the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg (H-BRS). After completing my bachelor’s degree in 2019, I continued my studies with a master’s degree at H-BRS. I am currently preparing for my master’s thesis.

Your master’s thesis project will be published within the IZNE Working Paper Series. What is it about?

During my master’s project, I created a model of a photovoltaic (PV)-diesel-hybrid system, which has an additional battery storage system and is connected to the public power grid. With the help of this model and data of a hospital in Akwatia, Ghana, we investigated different influences on the system. For instance, we studied the impact of the different seasons – such as rainy season, dry season and the harmattan (characterized by a dry and dusty north-easterly wind) – on the PV yield and therefore on the system. In addition, we looked at how the power outages that occur commonly in this region would affect such a system.

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Visualization of Spatial Data

Interview with Dr. Catherina Cader from Reiner Lemoine Institut. She talks about the application of spatial data for the EnerSHelF project.

In a previous interview, you and your colleague Philipp Blechinger introduced the objective of work package 3.4 within the EnerSHelF project. What has been achieved since then?

Since the last time we spoke, we deep dived into the data collection, assessment, and analysis to get an understanding of what kind of geo-spatial data is available. We put a strong focus on collecting and compiling all the data which have location specific attributes – meaning geo-coordinates. One part of this process is the visualization. We display the data in maps with different foci – for instance by extracting attributes for the regions of Ghana – and overlay different datasets to generate new insights. Fortunately, we were quite successful in identifying several datasets that work towards our project goal. For some, we were able use them as they were while others needed some post-processing to make them more useful for our purposes. For now, that was one of the key objectives before working towards the goal of developing an electrification strategy.

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