Tag Archives: H-BRS

Maintaining EnerSHelF’s equipment in Ghana

Two men working on a solar panel installation

In late March, Rone Yousif from University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg travelled to Ghana to check and maintain the measurement instruments and solar setup. He was accompanied by Mohammed Abass from WestfalenWIND. Over the course of three weeks, they travelled to the three pilot sites and met with the Ghanian project partners. The following blogpost highlights the different steps of their journey to give the reader an understanding of the practical work in the field.

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Interviews with key stakeholders in Ghana

The last time we spoke, you were at the planning stage of your data collection in Ghana. Can you state again, what it is you are trying to find out with your research?

As explained in our last interview, work package 1.1 deals with the political economy of sustainable energy transition in the Ghana Health and Energy sectors. Specifically, we seek to the analyse the factors that influence institutional or policy change towards clean energy transitions in Ghana with specific emphasis on solar PVs. 

How is your data collection proceeding?

So far, the first round of data collection has been concluded. After experiencing some difficulties during the initial stages due in part to the global Covid-19 pandemic, we managed to successfully conduct 19 qualitative interviews with key stakeholders at the national level in Ghana. The categories or groups of stakeholders interviewed included the following: Health and energy policy makers, sector regulators, donor institutions and international agents, NGOs and civil society groups within the health and energy space, and finally independent experts. A follow up or mopping up round for a few stakeholders interviewed is planned for June 2022.

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Health-Energy-Nexus: How off-grid energy can play a vital role in quality healthcare provision in Sub-Saharan Africa

Two buildings in rural Ghana, container with solar panels next to them.
EnerSHelF fieldsite: Kologo health centre with the installed solar container

Access to electricity

In 2019, 770 million people were without access to electricity globally[1]. They are left without the possibility of using electric light at night, powering refrigerators and stoves, or charging their phones and other devices. Until 2019, the number constantly decreased but the Covid-19 pandemic reversed the trend. In its World Energy Outlook 2021 report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that between 2019 and 2021 the global number of people without access to electricity stuck at its pre-crisis level – after seeing improvements by around 9% annually since 2015[2]. In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), for the first time since 2013, the numbers are likely to have even increased in 2020.

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Interview with the EnerSHelF project leaders

In September, Prof. Katja Bender and Prof. Stefanie Meilinger – project leaders of EnerSHelF – talked with the Bonn Sustainability Portal about the project. You can now read the English version below.

Dear Prof. Bender, dear Prof. Meilinger, you are both coordinating the project “Energy Self-Sufficiency for Health Facilities in Ghana” – EnerSHelF – at Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg. What are the goals of the project?

In Ghana, like in many developing countries and emerging market economies, blackouts are a common phenomenon. This is critical – especially for health facilities – as the care for patients relies on a reliable energy supply. Without electricity, operations and other procedures are not possible during the night, important instruments are malfunctioning, or the cooling circle of life-saving vaccines and medications are disrupted.

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Succesful data collection at 200 health facilities

Over the course of this summer, ten enumerators conducted the survey at 200 health facilties for the EnerSHelF project. The enumeration was led by Dr. Kennedy Alatinga and Ana Maria Perez. Read more about the data collection in the interview with Ana Maria Perez below. At the end of the interview, you find impressions by the enumerators.

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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.  

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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