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ENERGy access and green transition collaboratively demonstrated in urban and rural areas in AfrICA

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ENERGICA (ENERGy access and green transition collaboratively demonstrated in urban and rural areas in AfrICA)

Reporting period: 2021-11-01 to 2023-04-30

The ENERGICA project will demonstrate the implementation of diverse renewable energy technologies (RETs) in rural (Madagascar), peri-urban (Sierra Leone) and urban (Kenya) African context. The efficient implementation and sustainable uptake of the solutions will be guaranteed by establishing Local Energy Communities (LECs) and Energy Transition Boards (ETBs) that will co-develop the solutions and technologies. Specifically, the technologies developed focus on i) productive use of energy (PUE) in nanogrids to improve rural electrification while addressing the Water-Energyfood (WEF) nexus (WP4), ii) low-tech biogas systems combined with innovative water purification systems (WP5) and iii) smart battery management for e-mobility to promote green mobility and provide power grid flexibility (WP6).
Work started with the definition of pilot-related use-cases and system architecture, technical and regulatory frameworks, security and ICT systems infrastructure requirements, fundamental power grid and energy system models.

Baseline assessment surveys, capturing socio-economic, demographic and energy related information and perceptions were conducted in Kenya, Madagascar, and Sierra Leone, gathering 1,674 quantitative and 36 qualitative surveys. A community stakeholder mapping was conducted to identify local stakeholders who will form the ETBs and ICESs along with the community activation and involvement report. Flexible multi-criteria decision analysis tools were tailored to each context, allowing decision-makers to evaluate the proposed solutions compared to alternatives. The potential impact of integrating productive use of energy on local communities and associated value chains was studied, including investigating the bilateral impact of community characteristics and energy consumption patterns depending on usage patterns.

To prepare for the uptake of the technologies, capacity building strategies were prepared using the Technical, Economic, Educational, and Social (TEES) framework, assessing each demonstration site’s key and critical capacity building needs.

In terms of demonstration site development, all three demonstrators have advanced on their site’s preparation:
• In Madagascar, with the definition of the general architecture (including mechanical, energetical, and control characteristics ) of the 6 distinct productive nanogrid models targeting the WEF nexus. The hardware and software development work were launched for the smart nanogrid controller, the agri-, water- and cooling-specific solutions, and for the monitoring and evolution planning tools (real-time and scenarios modelling). A preliminary pilot commissioning plan was elaborated and research works were conducted on the peer-to-peer energy market prospects.
• In Sierra Leone, with i) (Re) design of the small scale anaerobic digestion units ii) identification of key components for the modular turn-key biogas plant, in particular for locally manufactured components., (iii) Laboratory trials proving biomass ash benefits for optimal biogas production from food waste., and (iv) assessment of the development of new photocatalytic material, selection of solar reactors designs to incorporate the photocatalytic material.
• In Kenya, with the establishment of the adapted machine learning-based grid models in the city using smart meters and electric grid data, followed by an implementation of a first batch of swapping stations and associated optimised electric motorcycles

Finally, ENERGICA partners conducted a thorough mapping and categorization of local and international initiatives to establish a regional platform for knowledge exchange, used for the uptake of the project technologies in line with the C&D Plan and in parallel to the actions done through the ENERGICA website (http://energica-h2020.eu/ with an average of 70 users per months) and social media accounts (LinkedIn, 626 followers, and Twitter, 100 followers).
ENERGICA aims to provide a comprehensive set of innovations, starting with novel and innovative African use-cases, through in-depth insights into local contexts, initiating involvement of local stakeholders, evaluating the impact of productive uses of energy on the social and economic aspects of the communities.

In terms of capacity building, new standardized frameworks, new programs tailored to the needs of the demonstrators including new knowledge and supply chains, will be developed. This will ensure the long-term viability of the demonstrators via sufficient local capacity and capability to assist in operating, maintaining and repairing.

Technically speaking, the demonstration in Madagascar aims for 50 productive nanogrids to improve access to mechanical force for at least 500 farmers, cooling and conservation solutions for at least 500 fishermens and drinkable water for at least 500 households. This will be possible via innovative solutions: novel smart energy management solutions, refurbishment of diesel-based rice hullers for small-scale solar PUE or plug-and-play all-in-one solar containers.

The demonstration in Sierra Leone will deploy 2 low-tech biogas plants implemented close to farming areas to test the coupling of fertilizer and water solutions for increased access to energy, clean water and fertilizer. Biomass ash will be proven as a substitute for commercially available chemical additives to optimise biodigestion of food waste, and innovative coupling of the biogas systems with innovative water purification solutions for enhanced water disinfection and decontamination in a flat multi-step cascade reactors will be developed.

The demonstration in Kenya will showcase groundbreaking electric two-wheelers concept based on locally designed, assembled and supplied electric motorcycles to "boda boda" riders. Each motorcycle comes equipped with a complimentary portable charger, enabling battery charging from any location. Additionally, a network of fast-charging stations and a battery rental service will be established. Through the project activities, operating costs will be reduced compared to swapping mechanisms, and daily profits of riders substantially increased.

ENERGICA will develop a novel approach of combining modelling tools based on system dynamics with established techno-economic assessment frameworks to evaluate the demonstrator solutions and develop transferable business models. Pathways for the use of innovative energy sources and use cases (e.g. hydrogen in rural Africa, or agri specific productive use) will also be studied. Social acceptance studies and standardized LCA will be coupled to a novel SDG-based in-depth climate adaptation and mitigation model to run a comprehensive impact assessment of the project.

A network and exchange platform with related initiatives will be established, for enhanced replication and uptake, including a user manual with fundamental outputs of the project to study the replicability of the solutions in at least 15 contexts, in line with the implemented exploitation activities ensuring the results reach various stakeholders, who will be involved in the co-creation of the demonstrators, and who ensure the uptake and replicability of the ENERGICA solutions.
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