The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) on Wednesday said it was partnering with an agriculture company, PyroGenesys, to use advanced thermal technology to generate power from agricultural waste.
Ms Nancy Muchiri, the Communications and Partnerships Unit of the AATF disclosed this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.
Muchiri said: “AATF is was an organisation which supports transformative agriculture development for wealth creation for smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).’’
She said the foundation also supports cassava productivity, especially management of post-harvest losses.
“PyroGenesys is a PyroPower that turns agricultural waste materials into renewable heat and electricity using an advanced thermal technology called pyrolysis, meaning no more fossil fuels.’’
According to the AATF spokesperson, severe challenges associated with electricity generation in SSA may soon be a thing of the past following the formation of a consortium to use agricultural waste to generate electricity for the people.
She said that the consortium that had perfected the use of agriculture waste such as cassava peel to generate electricity was led by PyroGenesys and the University of Leicester, AATF, Mobinet, Babban Gona Farmer Services, ICMEA-UK and Koolmill Systems were on board.
Mr George Marechera, the Managing Director of Agridrive , a subsidiary of AATF said that the foundation was participating in the initiative to ensure increased income for farmers that were growing cassava and to contribute to energy source for smallholders.
“There has been a lot of attention on production and use of clean energy and this initiative offers opportunity for AATF to contribute to that realisation through its social enterprise, Agridrive.
“Nearly two-thirds of the world population that does not have access to electricity live in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“These communities can use solar power, but it is expensive for them and many people cannot afford a solar home kit.”
Marechera noted that a number of African countries such as Nigeria were currently facing an acute power challenge with the state-supported power generating facilities producing less than 4000mw electricity for the 200 million people.
He said yet the country had a comparative advantage as the largest cassava producer in the world.
“The consortium is developing low-cost, environmentally friendly technology to transform the way off-grid communities in Nigeria receive electricity through its innovative PyroPower technology.’’
“The project that involves use of cassava peels is already being implemented in Osun, Oyo, Ogun, Edo and Delta states of Nigeria with plans for expansion into other states and countries in Africa,” he said.
He said that the innovation would reduce post-harvest losses in cassava and generate additional income for cassava farmers, who would now sell cassava waste and get income.
“A feasibility study carried out from June 2019 to June 2020 shows that cassava peels has the highest energy potential if use was based on the cassava mechanisation and agroprocessing work that AATF is currently implementing in Nigeria.
“Once it is commercialised, the initiative will benefit over 1.5 million cassava farmers through increased income from sale of cassava peels.
“ This work will also benefit more than four million households who will access clean and affordable energy,” Marechera said.