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In rural areas of Benin and Tanzania, access to modern energy services is extremely limited. Without electricity, farming communities are slow in their adoption of modern agriculture practices - resulting in sparse irrigation, lagging food production, and few opportunities for value-added processing and refrigerated storage. Though some communities depend on fossil fuel-based technologies to meet their energy needs, perpetually escalating fuel costs - coupled with adverse environmental impacts - necessitate the exploration of more affordable and sustainable options.
Clean Energy Solution
Village Industrial Power (VIP) Plants are mini-grid systems powered through the combustion of biomass waste produced at local agricultural processing facilities. The VIP Plants generate mechanical / electrical / thermal energy for use in a diverse range of agricultural activities - processing fruit, palm, rice, and cocoa; dairy pasteurization; purifying water; and powering irrigation pumps. The VIP Plants will be assembled / sold in partnership with local manufacturers, and owned/operated by local Energy Service Companies (ESCOs).
The project will result in the establishment of 50 agro-processing centers and village mini-grids capable of producing between 10 and 50kW of electricity for homes, social services, and businesses. It is anticipated that the VIP Plants will service more than 5,000 agrarian families. This clean energy solution will contribute agricultural development and low-carbon economic growth that improves food security, financial stability, environmental sustainability, and women’s empowerment through new entrepreneurship opportunities.
Camco Clean Energy is a sustainable energy development company with offices across Africa. It is experienced in providing rural electrification through solar, biomass, small hydro, and biofuel technologies, addressing traditional charcoal production and consumption. Camco will co-implement activities with Gazogen, Inc - a firm that specializes in the development of biomass fueled co-generation plants.
Camco and VIP have to date installed five units in three locations. Three palm oil processing businesses in South Eastern Benin have tested the VIP unit in order to displace diesel consumption that is used in running the expeller press and the kernel and fiber separator. The VIP mini-grid in the village of Uchindile, Tanzania, has electrified over 15 shops, homes, and a hospital, and is looking to test the system for an agricultural application, such as an irrigation pump or a small mill. A rural clinic near Kigoma, Tanzania, tested the VIP unit to power a submersible pump and other equipment with the electricity produced by the unit. Training to operate and maintain the units has been provided at all sites.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Powering Agriculture: http://poweringag.org/innovators/building-markets-efficient-biomass-power-provision