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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 Samantha Antonini from Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences on her tasks within the EnerSHelF project. She unravels her role as a linkage between project partners, researchers, and donors and the affiliated administrative challenges.
Besides the academic research and technological challenges surrounding EnerSHelF, its administration is central for the smooth progression of the project. Can you explain your role within the project in this regard?
I am responsible for facilitating collaboration across multidisciplinary work packages and reporting the project status to our project leaders and donors. In doing so, my work entails a diverse field of activities: I monitor the progress of research activities, generate the necessary documentation, organize regular team meetings, and assist staff and scientists with creating protocols, reports and many more. I also provide support for operational, procurement and legal aspects.
Interview with Prof. Stefanie Meilinger from Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences. She explains the overall aim of work package 3 and how different data is used to optimize the operation of PV Solar solutions at health facilities in Ghana.
Work package 3 (WP 3) works on examining ways for the country- and sector specified optimization of PV solutions. What is the overall aim of this work package?
Briefly speaking, WP 3 and its sub work packages look at different factors that are influencing the operation of solar PV hybrid systems at the three selected health facilities. There are two strings of internal and external factors, which must be considered: The available solar resources and the demand for electricity. Our aim is to improve both data bases to enhance and optimize the PV solutions.
The data on solar resources depend on climatic factors and on weather conditions. This information is collected by looking at historical climate data and local measurements performed in Ghana by WP 3.2. The collected data is critical to forecast how much energy can be produced at what time. The measurements include both local solar radiation, temperatures, and other meteorological variables.
Interview with Prof. Dr. Katja Bender and Callistus Agbaam from Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences. They explain, how work package 1 examines the Ghanaian political economy structure to understand processes that support or hamper the sustainable energy transition in the health and energy sectors.
Work package 1 aims to examine the
political economy of a sustainable energy transition in the Ghanaian health
sector. What are the specific aims of your work package?
aim of work package 1 (WP 1) is twofold. First, at the national level, we aim
to analyze the political economy structures that hinder or facilitate institutional
change towards a sustainable energy transition in the health and energy sectors.
By this, we seek to identify key decision makers or coalitions of change agents
and the corresponding decision-making processes or their influencing factors,
which have led to the emergence of the current institutional status quo.