Climate and resource protection for sustainable economic development
Sustainable economic development requires a considerate approach towards the use of natural resources, the climate and the environment – in all parts of the world. However, industrialized countries, as well as emerging and – in particular – developing countries, face many challenges. In Ghana, diverse problems in the energy and waste sectors, specifically, hamper an effective protection of climate and resources, and impede the country’s development. The power supply, for instance, is unable to meet the requirements of increasing consumption, and the subsequent, frequent power outages slow down economic growth. In order to improve the energy supply and further promote climate protection, the Ghanaian government has passed a law promoting renewable energy. The implementation of the law, however, stagnates – not least due to a lack of know-how. In the area of waste management, insufficient waste disposal structures and a lack of capacity impede a sustainable use of increasing amounts, as well as new types, of waste and waste materials. There is a lack of comprehensive concepts that would combine waste prevention, recycling and environmentally sound disposal, and prevent environmental pollution.
Against this background, GIZ and the State of NRW have initiated a project in 2013 with the focus on climate and resource protection. In the framework of the project it is intended that the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi will – in the long run – become a centre of excellence for renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste management and resource protection. Through innovative pilot projects, the necessary know-how will be established at the university in order to carry out application-oriented teaching and research, as well as demand-oriented consulting services, for the above mentioned topics.
Originating from the KNUST University, the developed know-how shall, in the long term, promote sustainable development as a whole and, specifically, the introduction of environmentally friendly technologies in the energy and waste sectors in Ghana, for example, through a reliable and environmentally friendly energy supply, and a resource-efficient and sustainable waste management.
The project builds on the field of action “economy” within the One World Strategy of North Rhine-Westphalia, and it takes up the objectives formulated in the strategy to promote the use of renewable energies and to contribute to climate protection.
The core of the project is a Ghanaian-North-Rhine-Westphalian technical cooperation between the KNUST in Kumasi, the Technische Universität Dortmund and the Westfälische Hochschule Gelsenkirchen. In the framework of this technical cooperation, the varied experiences and expertise of the universities in respect to the use of renewable energy, in the field of waste management and in resource protection are being pooled. At the same time, this will serve the promotion of scientific exchange and will support the establishment of the centre of excellence at the KNUST University.
Specific objectives of the technical cooperation are to support the KNUST University in the following:
- ensure a stable and reliable power supply at the KNUST University through the use of renewable energy and, for that purpose, develop innovative approaches to action
- establish exemplary pilot and demonstration facilities in the fields of renewable energies as well as energy and resource efficiency on the campus of KNUST in order to promote application-oriented teaching and research in these areas, and to strengthen the competence portfolio of the KNUST University
- develop the skills of the teaching staff and students of KNUST in respect to the thematic priorities of the cooperation.
To achieve these objectives the following activities are being implemented:
- Uninterruptible Power Supply
As part of a pilot project, a concept for an uninterruptible power supply integrating renewable energy sources is being field tested on two buildings of the KNUST. The concept involves simulating a self-contained “village power supply”, which, in the event of a power failure, would ensure the necessary basic services of the buildings through the use of renewable energies. In order to implement the concept, an intelligent energy management system that distinguishes between primary and secondary consumption is being developed and installed. In order to build expertise in the implementation, monitoring and commercialization of such stand-alone solutions, a concept for training is being developed.
Other pilot projects at the KNUST deal, for example, with the innovative and energy-efficient air conditioning of buildings or hot water production via solar heating.
To investigate and optimize the potential of biomass, a biogas laboratory is being established on the KNUST campus. In order to ensure the operation of the laboratory, a utilization concept has been developed, and relevant staff of the KNUST are being qualified at the Westphalian University in Gelsenkirchen as well as “on-the-job”. For training purposes, a biogas plant was constructed on the KNUST campus and now serves as a demonstration model for students.
- Waste Management
Against the background of increasing amounts of waste and lack of disposal options in Kumasi, various measures are planned to improve waste management on campus as well as in Kumasi. Since different categories of waste on the campus of KNUST are not collected separately, a waste separation concept has been developed at Knust and is being implemented along with awareness-raising activities that are being carried out in parallel. The city of Kumasi, in turn, is being supported in taking concrete steps towards a circular economy and the proper disposal of problematic waste. The starting point for this is the city hospital of Kumasi, which is being supported in the proper disposal of its infectious waste.
- Development of Business Models
Up to now, waste from the local timber and cacao industries has been dumped in the Kumasi landfill, but in the very near future this landfill will have reached its full capacity. As part of the project, the ways in which local waste can be recycled as secondary raw materials as well as which business models are conceivable for that purpose are currently being examined. In addition, a “Green Entrepreneur Award” is being launched to encourage the development of green business ideas. The award will be implemented together with Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University and their partner, the University of Cape Coast (UCC), and is aimed at students of KNUST and the UCC.
- Environmental Education
As a contribution to the environmental education of young people in Kumasi, awareness-raising activities involving ten schools in Kumasi were planned in consultation with the Mayor of Kumasi, Mr. Kojo Bonsu. These included tree planting as part of a student competition for greening the city, and initiatives for waste prevention and separation, which are also to be pursued in 2014. These measures accompany a campaign initiated by Mayor Kojo Bonsu for greening the “Garden City of Kumasi”, under which – and with the involvement of school children – one million trees are to be planted by the year 2017.
- Environmental Exhibition and Conference “WACEE”
Accompanying the technical measures, the annual environmental fair held in Accra, “West African Clean Energy Exhibition & Conference WACEE”, is an important component of the project. Organized every year, WACEE is a one-day conference to discuss the issues of climate and resource protection with relevant representatives from Ghana, thus contributing to the political sustainability of cooperation.WACEE’15 Conference: www.wacee.net
Partners and Stakeholders
- Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences
- City of Kumasi
- Ghanaian Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI)
- Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi
- Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia
- TU Dortmund University
- University of Cape Coast
- Westphalian University of Applied Science