CORDIS - EU research results

Integrating energy systems and supply chain optimisation for sustainable development: Decentralised, Energy-Leveraging Transformation of African Development (DELTADev)

Project description

Energy-enabled sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa

A considerable part of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is related to energy issues. However, a majority of countries in sub-Saharan Africa suffers from energy poverty with adverse consequences for economic development. The EU-funded DELTADev project intends to develop a bottom-up strategy for rural development in several energy-poor case studies across sub-Saharan Africa. The project will place energy systems planning into a broader sustainable development context by adopting various SDG targets as optimisation objectives. Specifically, it will integrate energy systems planning with the optimisation of rural productive supply chains, yielding a common modelling platform capable of designing these systems according to cross-sectoral development objectives. By capitalising on energy-enabled development, this approach holds the promise of intrinsically increasing energy access and rural development, lowering the need for foreign development finance.


This project has three core objectives:
(1) It aims to place energy systems design within the context of broader sustainable development (SD). Many of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are known to be closely linked to energy. This project is the first to translate this nexus into a comprehensive multi-objective optimisation framework, which explicitly considers various SDG targets as objectives when planning energy systems.
(2) It intends to integrate energy systems and supply chain optimisation in a common modelling environment. Motivated by inadequate conditions for economic development in low-income countries, this allows reaping synergies from energy-enabled productivity increases across agricultural and manufacturing supply chains.
(3) Combining concepts (1) and (2), it aims to develop a bottom-up strategy for rural development, tailored to energy-deprived areas in Africa. It provides affordable and scalable electricity access to foster SD without relying on excessive amounts of external finance. A multi-objective optimisation model designs off-grid energy systems based on real-world examples by using the SDGs to define objective functions. Integrating electricity as an input for existing and new rural supply chains increases the value-add per kWh. This creates new revenue streams which, crucially, can cross-subsidise non-commercial electricity needs of SD to improve the quality of life for rural Africans while the system’s remains financial viability.

The MSCA fellowship allows me to focus my interdisciplinary expertise on a core research theme of sustainable operations for development. It advances my profile by capitalising on the project's opportunities for transformative research and impact. Furthermore my research, implementation and managerial skills are advanced through a close integration into Prof. Grit Walther’s research group during the fellowship and a firm dedication to training, a secondment and independent project management.


Net EU contribution
€ 174 806,40
52062 Aachen

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Nordrhein-Westfalen Köln Städteregion Aachen
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 174 806,40