Energy Indaba 2011 has concluded an agreement with the EU African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) Science and Technology Programme to hold a workshop on Sustainable Non-Food Sources of Bio-Fuels alongside this year’s conference and exhibition to be held in March.
The EU ACP Programme has initiated a Science and Technology project to build sustainable, non-food, renewable biofuel supply chains for providing Combined Heat and Power (CHP), or cogeneration electricity, and identify future feed stocks needed to replace fossil fuels in South Africa, Namibia and Ghana.>
The programme aims to bring together academics, professionals, decision-makers and support scheme managers from these African countries and Italy and the UK in a series of workshops to build capacity and identify and stimulate funding for the biofuels industry.
“Our Government’s commitment to renewable energy has facilitated several opportunities for the biofuels market in South Africa, giving the ACP
programme and interested stakeholders a strong platform for furthering developments in this industry,” says Energy Indaba MD, Liz Hart.
The workshop will host a number of local and international industry and research experts in the field of renewable energy and non-food energy sources. The workshop will go further in identifying viable and sustainable renewable energy sources and establishing training programmes in South Africa, to provide a framework for what the organisers hope will accommodate many future projects and programmes in the growing biofuels industry in South Africa.
Non-food biofuels include those based on jatropha plants, which thrive in the African environment, as well as micro-algae and bio-gas from agro-and food wastes. ACP hopes to foster partnerships between energy businesses and farming supply chains, transferring know-how from experienced teams toothers and providing capacity-building for the ACP programme at universities that will train up a new workforce and offer technical expertise, training and research.
“One of the objectives of the programme is to address ACP in-country state-of-preparedness and the ability to respond to new technologies emerging from Europe,” says Professor Patricia Harvey. “Energy Indabais the ideal forum to raise awareness of second-generation renewable biofuels for meeting energy requirements in local communities, and to expand the renewable biofuels debate in Africa.”
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As power prices in Africa rise, grid expansion stalls and as grid power availability is constrained, consumers and communities increasingly have to take electricity production into their own hands. In the long term, this is a good thing, and having a portion of electricity coming from decentralised sources is healthy for any grid.