New waste-to-power electricity generation in sub-Saharan Africa

Mechanical claw hand grabbing pile of mixed waste

Credit: zlikovec/GettyImages

Globally, nearly two-thirds of those without electricity access live in sub-Saharan Africa. While these communities can use solar power, it is expensive and many people who live there are not able to afford a solar home kit.

Clean energy start-up PyroGenesys is developing low-cost, environmentally-friendly technology to transform the way off-grid communities in Nigeria receive electricity with its innovative PyroPower technology.

PyroGenesys’ chief executive officer, Simon Ighofose, said:

PyroPower turns agricultural waste materials into renewable heat and electricity using advanced thermal technologies such as pyrolysis and gasification, meaning no more fossil fuels.

Waste agri-residues are converted into biochar smokeless fuel briquettes for cooking, replacing firewood and wood-derived charcoal use, a cause of severe deforestation and human health issues.

Nigerian-born Simon had the idea for PyroPower on a visit to Nigeria in 2011 after directly experiencing the electricity supply issues. A research paper on the energy conversion technology of agricultural waste inspired Simon to study chemical engineering at Aston University to create an affordable, sustainable solution.

Now, PyroGenesys leads a consortium that includes:

  • University of Leicester
  • African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF)
  • Mobinet
  • Babban Gona Farmer Services
  • ICMEA-UK
  • Koolmill Systems.

In 2019, Innovate UK supported PyroGenesys through the Energy Catalyst, with the consortium as whole being awarded over £220,000

The company is in discussions with a major blue-chip Nigerian PLC to roll out the PyroPower technology to around 100 sites across Nigeria. It is also working with Koolmill to provide off-grid high-quality rice milling.

Last updated: 11 March 2021

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