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Innovation

Green People’s Energy for Africa – Small Projects Fund

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The Small Projects Fund offers financial support to initiatives led by non-profit organisations in the field of decentralised renewable energy. The Fund can enable small projects and contribute to realising project ideas located in sub-Saharan Africa that contribute to sustainable development.

The Fund is looking for concrete solutions based on an identified local need. The expected impact and likely success of the proposed solutions to overcome social, ecological and/or economic challenges in the energy sector will be analysed by an assessment committee. A specific focus is sustainability meaning benefits pursued in the framework of the project’s timeframe shall continue beyond implementation. Additional thematic priorities are on training, productive uses of energy, electrification of social infrastructure and partnerships.

The Fund prioritises electricity-based solutions from within the nine focal countries of the initiative: Ethiopia, Benin, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, Uganda, and Zambia.

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Deadline: 1st December 2021

Innovation

Design and Analysis of Charcoal Briquette Heat Exchanger for Fruit Drying

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Drying jackfruit, bananas, and mangoes in our solar dryer using the heat exchanger with a double-pass on the Makaa cookstove. Photo: MIT D-Lab

Introduction to Fruit Drying

According to the United Nations, one-third of the world’s food is wasted annually. The majority of fruit loss occurs during storage or right after harvest. Drying fruit prevents food waste. Drying fruit has a lot of benefits. It can decrease post-harvest waste, increase the commercial value of fruit, add jobs to the local economy, and provide great nutritional value.

Our Community Partner

We have designed an affordable drying system that attempts to optimize drying time and reduce fuel expenditure to allow our community partner, the Teso Women Development Initiative (TEWDI Uganda), to produce attractive, clean-tasting fruit at a profit. TEWDI is based in Soroti, Uganda, and has several small businesses for charcoal briquette, charcoal Makaa cookstove, and fruit drying production.

Activities Conducted

We have evaluated multiple designs from two potential fuel sources: charcoal briquettes and peanut shells. After doing a holistic analysis of different design criteria, we concluded that the charcoal-powered Makaa cookstove heat exchanger (HEX) was the best option. It uses readily available materials and has a familiar user experience. We then designed the HEX around the Makaa cookstove’s dimensions and heat output. In our design, we prioritized the maximization of radiative heat transfer and the minimization of thermodynamic losses. The HEX was then tested for its thermodynamic efficiency.

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Innovation

Evaporative Cooling Shipping Container for Fruit and Vegetable Preservation (Kenya, India)

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Diagram of our evaporative cooling chamber design and cooling mechanism of fresh produce. Figure: MIT D-Lab/student team

In developing countries, 30-50% of food produced is lost before it is consumed. Farmers, farmer collectives, and food vendors need an affordable cooling storage solution to increase their produce shelf life. This will not only improve profits, but also provide communities with more access to fresh produce and combat food scarcity and malnourishment. We have helped design fan and power systems of a forced-air evaporative cooling chamber that will address this issue (Figure 1). A fan system forces air through wet evaporative cooling pads, evaporating water and cooling the surrounding air that then flows into a chamber. Our solution will be housed within a 20 foot shipping container and powered by solar panels, such that it will be easily replicable in any region, regardless of access to grid power.

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Call For Applications: Free Online Course – Youth Agri-Entrepreneurship & Business Growth

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Call For Applications: Free Online Course - Youth Agri-Entrepreneurship & Business Growth. Application Deadline: 22nd November 2021.

The African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP) in collaboration the Private Sector Development and Finance Division (PSDF); the Women, Youth Gender and Development Directorate (WGDD) of the African Union Commission, and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Office for Africa, is organizing this training to support digital transformation of youth agribusinesses which will provide catalytic drivers for an accelerated achievement of full employment and sustainable and inclusive growth as pursued by African countries.

Learning Objectives

  • Provide a platform for young people to drive the African Development Agenda in the context of digital agriculture
  • Facilitate the understanding of digital agriculture pillars through case studies and analysis of emerging trends
  • Demonstrate ICT services and tools’ transformative power for production and access to market for smallholder farmers, agricultural cooperatives and agripreneurship activities
  • Facilitate the development of digital strategies and services for youth agribusinesses

Application Deadline: Monday 22nd November, 2021.

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