KNUST launches project to develop bio-based power

The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has launched a project to develop a simple, efficient and sustainable electricity generation technology for use in rural and urban communities.

It focuses on developing microbial fuel cell technology to generate electricity and support wastewater treatment.

The project is being jointly undertaken by the Department of Chemical Engineering of the University and the Center for Bioprocess Engineering, DTU Denmark.

Danish Agency for International Development (DANIDA) is funding it with $500,000, according to the 2015 Research Report of the KNUST.

It said “the technology has the capacity to harness power from various wastewater sources which makes it a very efficient tool especially for wastewater treatment”.

Project teams in Ghana and Denmark have been carrying out various experimental activities, at the heart of which, are substrate selection and development, electrode materials development and reconfiguration of various components, it added.

The results of the findings are being extended into the Seaweed Biorefinery in Ghana Project (SEABIOGHA), the report said, indicating that “its introduction into this new project is to support waste treatment and ensure the efficient use of its biomass residue”.

Separately, the university is working towards the development of innovative technologies for managing plastic waste in the country – develop solar cells materials used for fabricating solar cells, produce biofuels from indigenous materials, convert plastic waste into useful materials and the development of biodegradable plastics.

The report said it has been aggressively pushing ahead with research into renewable energy programmes alongside polymer science and technology.

This is being done through the collaboration of local and foreign researchers including those from United Kingdom, South Africa and Cameroun and ties in with the national objective to substitute 10 per cent of the national energy mix with renewable energy by 2020 and 20 per cent by 2030.

It noted that solar energy and bioenergy “are among the most promising alternative sources of renewable energy to supplement or reduce the overdependence on petroleum”.

That was why the researchers have been working assiduously to identify and explore suitable local materials – vegetable oils and agricultural crop residues for the production of biofuels and using nanotechnology techniques to tune the sizes of semiconducting materials suitable for fabricating solar cells. 

Source: GNA

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