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.
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.
Interview with Rone Yousif from University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg. He is supervising the measurement concept at the three pilot sites of the EnerSHelF project in Ghana.
You recently joined the EnerSHelF project under work package 3.0. Can you tell a bit about your professional background and your experience in working with renewable energy?
I am very pleased that the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg (H-BRS) gave me the opportunity to actively contribute to the project. In 2013 I decided to study mechanical engineering as I am very technically oriented. As part of my master’s degree, I focused on solar power and I have dealt with issues of energy meteorology. My master’s thesis investigated the influence of aerosols and clouds on photovoltaics (PV). It was fascinating to see how dust outbreaks in Ghana affect the PV performance but also to face the challenges that occur in the energy sector.
Interview with Mohammed Abass from WestfalenWIND. He talks about his role in the EnerSHelF project and the challenges they faced when setting up a Photovoltaic-hybrid system at the pilot site at Kologo.
You recently joined the EnerSHelF project through its industry partner WestfalenWIND. Can you tell a bit about your professional background and role within the project?
I completed my B.Sc. in Physics at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana, in 2012. In 2014, I came to Germany to do my master’s degree at University of Duisburg-Essen and now hold a M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering. My studies were based within the internationally oriented study program International Studies in Engineering (ISE) and I specialized in energy and environmental engineering.
My role within the EnerSHelF project is to assist in setting up a photovoltaic (PV)-hybrid system at the pilot site in Kologo, Ghana. Additionally, I help to promote user acceptance of PV systems as well as its optimal usage. That also entails to enhance the understanding of sustainable electricity generation across the community. I think that if you want to bring new things to places or people, it is important to create the right access. Encouragingly, I noticed that the acceptance for PV systems in Kologo is already very high. Another part of my role within the project is the documentation of the process of setting up the PV-hybrid system in Kologo.
Watch the interview with Callistus Agbaam, researcher for the EnerSHelF project at the International Centre for Sustainable Development at University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg. By clicking on “continue reading →”, you can see the transcript of the interview below.
In early January, a group of researchers affiliated with the EnerSHelF project published the article “Day-Ahead Electric Load Forecast for a Ghanaian Health Facility Using Different Algorithms” in the peer-reviewed open access journal “energies”
The main scope of the research article is to identify a forecasting algorithm, which is most suitable for electric load-forecasting purposes. To address the peculiarities of the Ghanaian health sector, real load data from one of the project sites – the St. Dominic’s hospital in Akwatia – are used to conduct this comparison. The main idea of performing such forecasts is the possibility to apply a so-called model predictive control for PV-hybrid-systems, which uses predictions to optimize the dispatch of the PV-hybrid-system. It enables a higher efficiency and reliability compared to the widely used rule-based control.
The main finding of the research article is that forecast algorithms based on artificial intelligence, in particular long-short-term-memory neural networks, show the most promising results with regards to plasticity, robustness, and accuracy. However, the authors emphasize that they need to conduct further analysis with data from the field measurements and from the national utility provider. This will help to make a statement regarding the potential to generalize such forecasting methods.
Also, the exceptionally high measurement frequency of the electric load at the measurement sites is unique in this field, which enables the researchers to run simulations close to real conditions. By doing so, the gap between the theoretical development and the practical implementation of such algorithms becomes much smaller.
With the continuous travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EnerSHelF project team was unable to meet physically during the past months. Accordingly, this year’s annual meeting of all work packages (WPs) took place online. With researchers and project partners from both Ghana and Germany, the meeting was packed with presentations and thriving discussions on recent progress being made across the individual work packages.
The results are as diverse as are the different disciplines involved. Within WP1, a comprehensive literature review of the political economy in Ghana considering the nexus of renewable energy and health facilities is about to be completed. Recently, WP2 managed to instal measurement equipment and PV systems at one pilot site. In WP3, the different sub-WPs developed load models and an installation tutorial for the measurement devices that was used by local partners. Furthermore, they collected blackout and load data from Ghanaian hospitals and set together high-resolution energy meteorological forecasts for the project sites. These forecasts are backed with data collected by newly installed automatic weather stations at all three field sites. Another milestone was the development of an assistance tool for the process of planning and implementing micro grid systems for Ghanaian hospitals as well as the identification of the geographical distribution of energy production, consumption, and infrastructure through GIS data analysis.
A key objective of the meeting was the knowledge exchange among all WPs to find and create synergies and to discuss preliminary results. The fruitful debates proved the increment value of these cross-disciplinary exchange as the different perspectives lead to a holistic project approach. To foster this exchange, individual interviews with researchers and partners were conducted by one of the scholars in WP4 to pinpoint challenges regarding interdisciplinary work but also the advantages it encompasses. On the second day of the meeting, these perspectives have been put into practice by multiple cross-WPs sessions. In the upcoming year, the EnerSHelF team aims to deepen the interdisciplinary exchange through monthly seminars.
Despite the challenges regarding the installation of equipment, collecting data, and conducting interviews in Ghana, the range of steps undertaken in the previous months allows for a promising outlook for the upcoming year 2021.
A team of German and Ghanaian researchers and technicians installed the equipment to collect meteorological data at the health facilties in Kumasi, Akwatia, and Kologo for the EnerSHelF project.
Report by Windmanagda Sawadogo, Samuel Guug, and Edmond Borteye
At the end of September, a team from University of Augsburg (UniA) and West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) met in Ghana to install Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) for the collection of meteorological data at the three pilot sites of the EnerSHelF project. Within the project, both partners collaborate in work package (WP) 3.2 under the lead of UniA to collect and evaluate in situ climate data (You can read interviews with both partners here and here). The aim of the WP is to forecast the key meteorological variables for solar power generation and consumption at the field sites. Thereby, WASCAL acts as an interface between the EnerSHelF project teams in Germany and local stakeholders, for instance, the Ghana Meteorological Agency. Furthermore, they are responsible to provide technical support in collecting and processing observational data from the local observatory networks. The installation of the AWS at the three field sites spread over a period of 14 days and the field trip’s schedule included a close engagement with local authorities, securing materials and civil works, as well as mounting of sensors and testing the installed equipment.