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Enhancing Energy Access and Resource Circularity in Sub-Saharan Africa

Stopford, in partnership with academic and industrial collaborators, has been awarded funding from Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst Programme to enable the demonstration of hybrid micro-grids for the provision of affordable, clean, secure, energy to communities within Sub-Saharan Africa.

The ECOSMART:2 project, will use an enhanced modular biogas process technology, integrated with solar-PV, to convert organic waste streams into power and cooking gas, enabling the provision of on-demand renewable energy.

The Circular Economy business model aims to align social and gender considerations with economic and environmental benefits. Through the valorisation of agri/food waste (e.g. cassava and water hyacinth) and the establishment of safe and sustainable practices for the management of waste, new inclusive enterprises and value chains will be established providing training, skills and income to those communities involved.

Round 8 of Energy Catalyst has targeted innovations that address the energy ‘trilemma’: clean energy, affordable energy and accessible energy, to transform the energy landscape while also addressing gender equality and social inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

The collaborative project will see Stopford lead an international team across the UK and Africa, comprising LEAP Micro-AD, Meyana Bioenergy, Inclusive Energy, Solar Sister, University of Sheffield, Nigeria Climate Innovation Centre, Smart Villages Research Group, Mitimeth and Energy Industry Development Initiative, to fast-track the design, build and operation of three ECOSMART:2 modules in Nigeria.

Dr. Ben Herbert said, “I am delighted to be leading such an important and ambitious project, with the overarching aim being to further access to clean energy and improving the lives of people in developing economies”.

Rokiah Yaman from LEAP Micro-AD added, “As a sustainable technology developer, we're keen to support decentralised approaches to waste management that benefit local people with access to low cost, low carbon by-products including bioenergy, biofertiliser and compost, at a time when global food, energy and fertiliser prices are skyrocketing.”

Bukola Aina from Mitimeth remarked “The MitiMeth team is delighted to be a part of this multidisciplinary EC8 project. Our role is to create water hyacinth (a feedstock for ECOSMART:2) valorisation enterprise opportunities beyond energy in the beneficiary communities. Specifically targeting women and youth friendly livelihoods through the establishment of circular Maker Enterprises providing decent work (crafting, composting) and economic growth.”

Alongside addressing the energy trilemma, through the provision of renewable power and cooking gas, ECOSMART:2 is also expected to enhance human health and the environment through enabling a transition away from diesel generators and solid cooking fuels, and in doing so eradicating emissions associated with their operation.

Energy Catalyst, an Innovate UK programme, helps early- to late-stage innovators develop market-based technologies and business models that accelerate access to clean, modern and affordable energy in Africa and Asia.

The Energy Catalyst is run by Innovate UK and is co-funded by partners including the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Global Challenges Research Fund.

Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. We drive productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK’s world-class research base.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is the largest public funder of research and innovation in the UK, with a budget of over £8bn. It is composed of seven disciplinary research councils, Innovate UK and Research England.

We operate across the whole country and work with our many partners in higher education, research organisations businesses, government, and charities.

Our vision is for an outstanding research and innovation system in the UK that gives everyone the opportunity to contribute and to benefit, enriching lives locally, nationally and internationally.

Our mission is to convene, catalyse and invest in close collaboration with others to build a thriving, inclusive research and innovation system that connects discovery to prosperity and public good.

Stopford are world class innovators, with a portfolio of Stopford owned green technologies; established in 1982 an international multi-disciplinary consultancy, engineering design and project management services company with a proven track record in developing innovative process technologies and process solutions for commercially successful innovation.

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