Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Utilisation of rice residues for decentralised electricity generation in Ghana: An economic analysis

• Economic viability of decentralised electricity from rice residue in Ghana is studied.
• Electricity produced from straw combustion ranged between 11.6 and 13 US cents/kWh.
• Residue cost contribute 49–54% of electricity production cost from straw combustion.
• Husk gasification mini-grids are cheaper than other rural electrification options.
• Husk gasifiers should be promoted in remote rural communities of Northern Ghana.

Developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, face large challenges to achieve universal electrification. Using the case of Ghana, this study explores the role that rice residues can play to help developing countries meet their electrification needs. In Ghana, Levelised Electricity Costs (LEC) of a grid-connected 5 MWe straw combustion plant ranged between 11.6 and 13.0 US cents/kWh, based on region of implementation. Rice straw combustion is a viable grid-connected option in all regions, as the bioenergy Feed-in-Tariff is 29.5 US cents/kWh in Ghana. Residue supply cost contributes significantly (49–54%) to LEC of rice straw combustion.

LEC of husk gasification mini-grids ranged between 5 and 53 US cents/kWh for rural populations between 3000 and 250 people. Husk gasification mini-grids can be a suitable electrification solution for these un-electrified populations, as its LEC is lower than the average LEC of grid extension diesel mini-grids and off-grid solar systems for remote communities in Ghana. Electricity produced from husk gasification has the potential to cater to 7% of the needs of un-electrified communities in Ghana. The methodology and analysis of this study can support policymakers of similar countries decide the economic feasibility of decentralised bioenergy solutions while forming national electrification plans.
by Pooja Vijay Ramamurthi 1, , , Maria Cristina Fernandes 1, Per Sieverts Nielsen 2, Clemente Pedro Nunes 1
a CERENA/DEQ, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
b DTU Climate Centre, Systems Analysis, Department of Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark
Volume 111, 15; September, 2016; Pages 620–629
Keywords: Rice residues; Electricity access; Economic feasibility; Rural electrification; Levelized Electricity Cost; Ghana

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