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.
Interview with Dr. Emmanuel Ramde from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana. He explains the many areas he is involved in for the EnerSHelF project
As an associated partner to the EnerSHelF project, the Brew-Hammond Energy Centre (TBHEC) at KNUST is involved in WP3.1, which aims to provide a power demand model for Ghanaian hospitals. What is your specific role within this work package?
My specific role within this work package is manifold and diverse. First of all, I use my knowledge and understanding of the energy landscape in Ghana to get the right input parameters for the expected outputs of the developed model. Furthermore, I liaise with the utilities to get data for some selected hospitals. That also included locating a health facility in Kumasi which is now a part of the EnerSHelF project as a pilot site. During this process, I initiated a collaboration agreement with the management of the facility and coordinated the recent installation of the weather station and of the load measurement devices.
Interview with Ana Maria Perez Arredondo from Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences. She explains how and why she examines institutional structures in Ghana and points out linkages of EnerSHelF to her doctoral thesis on One Health.
You recently joined work package 1 of the EnerSHelF project which is examining the political economy structure of Ghana. Can you explain your role within this work package?
Sure. I will be looking at how the dissemination of technology, particularly photovoltaic (PV), is happening in Ghana. In particular, I will interview managers of health facilities to evaluate the challenges they have in relation to energy supply and their impressions towards renewable and non-centralized energy sources. The goal is to evaluate the market potential for PV.
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.
Interview with Sarah Rabe from Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences. She talks about her role in the project as a linkage between the different disciplines, ensuring an active exchange among the work packages throughout the research process.
Interdisciplinarity is at the core of the EnerSHelF project as different academic disciplines and industrial partners are involved. What is the purpose of this holistic approach?
The holistic approach arises almost automatically out of the project’s topic. The technological transition towards renewable energy – in this case solar energy through photovoltaics (PV) – can only work if the product is of high quality and adapted to the specific region. But even well-engineered technology is pointless if it is not usable for or accepted by the people who are supposed to adapt it. Therefore, one needs different disciplines like engineering, meteorology, and socio-economy to tackle a holistic problem like the energy self-sufficiency of health facilities.
Interview with Samer Chaaraoui from Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, Sankt Augustin, on the process of modeling photovoltaic systems. In cooperation with other members of the EnerSHelF project, he works on the mathematical representation of different effects and events that influence the operation of the system
When I searched for academic articles on solar
photovoltaic modeling and simulation, I have seen a lot of equations and
mathematical formulas. Can you explain in a more accessible way what modeling
of photovoltaic systems encompasses?
By modeling photovoltaic (PV) systems, we try to
find a mathematical representation of effects and events happening inside a PV
system. With this representation, we can simulate processes, such as the
conversion of solar radiation to electrical power, in order to estimate solar
yields – for instance for economic and ecological business case analyses.
Since the full representation of the real world is
not viable, we try to find mathematical representations which are simple enough
to be calculated quickly and are complex enough to give an acceptable result.
Therefore, it is especially important to validate modeling results with real
world measurements, to estimate the performance of the model.
You will find many approaches and equations, trying
to represent PV systems, which range from simple physical equations to more
complex methods. Each of these approaches result from different demands towards
the use case, usability, and accuracy of the model.
Interview with Dr. Kennedy Alatinga of the University for Development Studies on his involvement in the project as an associated partner. He explains his role in the quantitative and qualitative data collection in Ghana
You are an associated partner to the EnerSHelF project and involved in three work packages. Can you tell us about your role within these distinct packages?
I am the Country Project
Manager of EnerSHelF in charge of the socio-economic component of the project
in Ghana. In my position, I am involved in
developing survey instruments for data collection and analysis. Another
major task is to ensure that the project team gets ethical clearance from the
Ghana Health Service Ethical Review Committee for the project – which I already
How do you implement your tasks and areas of
leading the development of both qualitative and quantitative data collection
instruments. With these we plan to assess the impact of the institutional
framework – both in terms of prevailing technologies as well as socio-economic
conditions – on the decision-making behaviour of market actors regarding PV