Biomass: The Key to Unlocking Africa’s Hydrogen Energy Potential?

by Charles Kusi Minkah-Premo

An article in the August 2015 edition of the Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy journal assesses Africa’s promising hydrogen energy potential (HEP) from biomass.

Africa’s long-standing issues with electricity generation and access have been well documented. With Northern Africa and South Africa accounting for 30% and 45% respectively of the total electricity generation in Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) —excluding South Africa— generates only 25%. The alarm bells start ringing when you consider the fact that 80% of Africa’s population resides in SSA and a whopping 67% of people living in this region lack access to electricity. Continue reading

Off the Grid, Batteries Not Included

PV to H to Fuel cell

by Emil Morhardt

If there’s a need for electricity, but there aren’t any power lines nearby, the approach of choice today, in sunny climes, is photovoltaic (PV) panels connected to batteries. But the total amount of electricity that can be stored is then dependent on the number batteries, and if a relatively large amount of storage is needed, this could be prohibitively expensive, heavy, and not very portable. With the advent of hydrogen fuel cells small enough to fit into an automobile and operational at low temperatures, perhaps a fully self-contained electrical generation system could be based on PV panels electrolyzing water to make hydrogen gas, which could then be stored in low-pressure tanks in amounts as large as needed. That’s what Cabezas et al. (2014) decided to experiment with. Continue reading