Wir kämpfen gegen Energiearmut in Afrika 1

We fight against energy poverty in Africa

Jeannine Schieder,

The researchers of the institute Energy, Transport and Environmental Management are fighting energy poverty in Africa as part of the RETEM project. After welcoming guests from Mozambique at FH JOANNEUM Kapfenberg in November 2019 , it was time for the return visit in February 2020.

Jeannine Schieder and Christof Sumereder embarked on a long journey to Mozambique. Once they had arrived there, “Train the Trainer” workshops with the lecturers from the Zambeze University focusing on thermal solar energy and photovoltaics were on the agenda.

The APPEAR Project RETEM, „Capacity Building for Renewable Energy Technologies in Mozambique“ pushes the development of a bachelor’s degree course in renewable energy as well as the installation of an energy laboratory at the Zambeze University. As part of the project a kick-off visit to Mozambique (travelreport) and a project visit to the FH JOANNEUM in Kapfenberg (blog post) had already taken place.

Mozambique is a country rich in renewable energy resources and thus has a particularly high potential for the use of any kind of solar energy. Therefore, Christof Sumereder, head of the research project, and Jeannine Schieder, research assistant at the degree programme „Energy, Mobility and Environmental Management", travelled to Chimoio in February to conduct training courses in “thermal solar energy and photovoltaics” for lecturers at the Zambeze University.

In addition to the workshops, the program included interesting lectures held by Mozambique’s local energy agency and a lecturer from the Zambeze University for the guests of the FH JOANNEUM and the students of the Zambeze University.

High potential for solar energy use

Due to its geographic location in the southeast of Africa, Mozambique not only has a subtropical climate, but also high temperatures throughout the year and a high number of sunshine hours. This means an ideal starting position and a high potential for the use of solar energy for warm water preparation but also for electricity generation. Despite its strong upswing in recent years, Mozambique is struggling with the availability and particularly the reliability of its energy supply in rural areas. A possible solution is the utilization of small, local off-grid systems of thermal solar and photovoltaic plants to supply single households or small communities. In order to enable a large-scale usage of those and other systems, the project RETEM has set itself the goal to establish a comprehensive education in the field of renewable energy at the Zambeze University with the aim of filling knowledge-gaps and thus remove a further obstacle on the path to a safe and reliable energy supply in Mozambique.

Interesting workshops on the use of solar energy
Many new inputs and traditional impressions

During the different workshops and sessions on the topic of “solar energy use” the lecturers of the Zambeze University not only gained a lot of new theoretical knowledge of electrical and energy technology, but were also able to experience the practical installation of thermal solar and photovoltaic systems using various test and laboratory kits. It was particularly fascinating to witness how experiences were gradually generated and how the influence of parallel and series connection on the current and voltage output was grasped. To balance the strenuous working days and enable the exchange between the participants of both universities, typical snacks and beverages of the region around Chimoio were served during the breaks. In order to get more impressions of Mozambique and to let the day end comfortably, traditional meals and walks in the centre of Chimoio were on the programme in the evenings.

The future of the project is still uncertain

Further training and workshops at the Zambeze University in Mozambique and a closing event of the project are planned for June 2020. Since it is currently not possible to foresee how the COVID-19 situation will develop worldwide, the precise further procedure in the project cannot yet be planned. But we are going to keep you informed about this important project!

Travel report in pictures

An exciting project journey full of new impressions and acquaintances now comes to an end, so let's conclude with a short review.