Status of Micro-Hydrokinetic River Technology Turbines Application for Rural Electrification in Africa

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Date
2022-11-28
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MDPI
Abstract
Energy accessibility, reliability and availability are key components of improved quality of life and human development in all spheres. As the United Nations’ SDG 7 calls for access to electricity for all by 2030, Africa still has a wide gap to fill as the statistics show that 85% of the population that will not have access to electricity is in Africa. As the world tries to wean itself off non-renewable energy and transition to green through use of renewable energy sources, hydropower energy remains at the heart of Africa for this venture. With majority of the rural population in Africa lacking electricity, there is need for a low-tech system that utilizes river flow to generate just enough energy for normal operation in these regions. Micro-hydrokinetic river turbine technology (µ-HRT), which offers less intermittency, can potentially contribute to sustainably electrifying Africa rural areas. The technology has been adopted by few countries worldwide, with limited comprehensive study in Africa even though the technology seems viable for use in African rivers. This paper reviewed the status of the µ-HRT applications in Africa and some of the barriers to its development. The study found out that the technology has not been vastly developed in Africa. Despite numerous barriers, the technology is simply a low-tech technology that requires the use of local resources and capacity building for its sustainability in terms of construction, operation and maintenance requirements. It is therefore recommended that R&D and field trials be conducted for its possible adoption.
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Awandu W, Ruff R, Wiesemann J-U, Lehmann B. Status of Micro-Hydrokinetic River Technology Turbines Application for Rural Electrification in Africa. Energies. 2022; 15(23):9004. https://doi.org/10.3390/en15239004