Climate and Resource Protection for Sustainable Economic Development in Ghana
Sustainable economic development requires a responsible approach to the use of natural resources, the climate and the environment – in all parts of the world. However, industrialised countries, emerging economies and – in particular – developing countries face numerous challenges here. In Ghana, various problems in the energy and waste sectors hamper effective protection of the climate and resources, impeding the country’s development. The power supply, for example, is unable to keep up with growing demand, and frequent power outages stunt economic growth. In order to improve the energy supply and protect the climate, the Ghanaian Government has passed a law promoting renewable energy. The implementation of the law has stalled, however – not least due to a lack of know-how. In the waste management sector, inadequate waste disposal systems and a skills shortage are impeding the sustainable management of increasing amounts and new types of waste. There is a lack of integrated strategies that combine waste avoidance, recycling and environmentally compatible disposal and prevent environmental contamination.
Against this background, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, with support from the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), launched a project on climate protection and resource conservation in Ghana in 2013. As the project’s long-term objective, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi will become a centre of excellence for renewable energies, energy efficiency, waste management and resource conservation. Innovative pilot projects will develop the know-how that the University requires in order to carry out application-oriented teaching and research and to respond to the demand for advisory services in the designated thematic areas.
The project also aims to build the technical capacities of other stakeholders in Ghana, with a focus on climate protection and resource conservation, and thus contribute to the establishment of a skills network which will support the country’s sustainable development in the long term.
The core of the project is technical cooperation between Ghana and North Rhine-Westphalia, involving KNUST in Kumasi, TU Dortmund University and the Westphalian University of Applied Sciences in Gelsenkirchen. This technical cooperation brings together the partner universities’ varied experience and expertise in the fields of renewable energy use, waste management and resource conservation. It will also promote scientific exchange and facilitate the establishment of the centre of excellence at KNUST.
Support is provided for KNUST in the following areas:
- ensuring a stable and reliable power supply at KNUST, based on the use of renewable energies, and developing innovative strategies for this purpose,
- establishing pilot and demonstration facilities as models of best practice in renewable energies, energy efficiency and resource conservation on the KNUST campus in order to promote application-oriented teaching and research in these areas and strengthen KNUST’s capacities,
- developing the skills of the teaching staff and students at KNUST in the thematic priorities addressed within the cooperation framework.
To achieve these objectives, the following activities have been implemented:
- Uninterrupted power supply:
As part of the cooperation between the universities, a pilot project to demonstrate an uninterrupted power supply that integrates renewable energies has been designed and implemented at KNUST. A stand-alone village power supply is being field-tested on two buildings for this purpose. In the event of a power failure, the system would provide a basic supply to the buildings through smart energy management and the use of renewables. The system is based on an innovative concept with unique selling points for KNUST and the region. The individual components of the system support application-oriented teaching and research in the fields of renewable energies, energy efficiency and resource conservation; they also help to develop the skills of KNUST’s teaching staff and students.
- Solar training centres:
As a further demonstration project involving the use of renewable energies, a small solar training centre has been set up on the KNUST campus. Practical training on the installation and application of photovoltaics and solar thermal systems can be provided here.
- Solar/passive cooling:
A feasibility study was undertaken to determine whether there was scope to install solar cooling in a KNUST auditorium as a further demonstration project. However, due to the high costs involved, a decision was taken to trial an alternative, more cost-effective solution instead, based on passive cooling. Within the framework of the project, implemented in cooperation with SICC Coating, heat-reflective paint was applied to the walls of the auditorium in order to reduce room temperature.
To investigate and optimise the potential of biogas, a biogas laboratory was set up on the KNUST campus. This facilitated the analysis of the composition of the gases produced during fermentation. As the project evolved, the laboratory was expanded to enable the calorific value of biomass to be studied. In order to ensure the operation of the laboratory, members of KNUST’s staff attended training at the Westphalian University of Applied Sciences in Gelsenkirchen, and a utilisation strategy was developed. For training purposes, a simple biogas plant was constructed on the KNUST campus and now serves as a demonstration model for students.
- Training programmes at KNUST:
In parallel to the development and implementation of pilot and demonstration projects, various training programmes at KNUST were devised in cooperation with the NRW universities in order to build technical capacities at the local level. This included a summer school in Kumasi, organised as part of the partnership with Westphalian University and also involving Ruhr Master School of Applied Engineering. The summer school was designed for students attending the partner universities in Ghana and North Rhine-Westphalia. Parallel events focused on topics such as biogas, biomass, energy efficiency and solar power. Talks and practical workshops run jointly by lecturers at the universities in Ghana and NRW made use of the pilot and demonstration facilities.
In order to improve teaching skills at KNUST, practical training for multipliers was provided in cooperation with TU Dortmund University, focusing on an uninterrupted power supply through smart energy management and also including an analysis of the main pilot facility.
- Development of business models:
Within the project framework, a Green Entrepreneur Award was launched to encourage the development of green business models. The ideas competition was run in cooperation with Bonn Rhein-Sieg University and its partner, the University of Cape Coast (UCC), with KNUST involved in the third round. Aimed at teams of students of KNUST and the UCC, the competition was intended to generate ideas on ways of combining business thinking with the management of environmental challenges in Ghana.
- Correct disposal of selected types of waste in Kumasi:
In order to assist the city of Kumasi with correct waste disposal, particularly in view of the Ebola crisis in West Africa, the project also focused on waste disposal at the local Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), the country’s second largest hospital. Due to defects at the incineration plant, KATH had no way of disposing of its infectious waste safely; as a result, the waste was being dumped untreated at the municipal landfill. As it was not possible to upgrade the facility, a new incinerator for hazardous hospital waste was built at KATH. In parallel, a strategy for the correct disposal of waste at KATH was developed, which included the operation of the new incinerator, and hospital staff were trained in the correct handling of hospital waste and the use of the new facility.
In order to assist the city of Kumasi with the safe disposal of waste, an incentive scheme for correct recycling of fridges and freezers was developed and implemented in cooperation with a local association of informal scrap workers in Kumasi. A collection point and workshop are now being set up for the association, the aim being to improve recycling and working conditions.
- West African Clean Energy and Environment Exhibition and Conference (WACEE):
Accompanying the technical measures, the West African Clean Energy and Environment Exhibition and Conference (WACEE) is an important component of the project. Climate protection and resource conservation are among the issues discussed at this annual conference with stakeholders from Ghana, contributing to the political sustainability of cooperation.
- Raising youth awareness of the climate and resource conservation:
As a contribution to the environmental education of children and young people in Ghana, awareness-raising activities involving 19 local schools were run in consultation with the Mayor of Kumasi. Around 10,000 saplings were planted at schools, environmental clubs were set up at 15 schools, and 100 teachers attended training to enable them to deliver high-quality environmental education. The measures accompany a campaign initiated by the Mayor for the greening of the ‘Garden City of Kumasi’.
- Travelling exhibition: In cooperation with Engagement Global, the One World Network NRW and Germanwatch, a travelling exhibition entitled Aluminium, Gold, E-Waste – No Shine without Shade was developed. The exhibition provides insights into the links between consumer behaviour in Germany and resource extraction in countries such as Ghana. It shows how key raw materials are mined in Ghana and what happens to e-waste, some of which comes from Europe. It also highlights the negative impacts on human health and the environment in Ghana. The exhibition is available for loan for development education purposes; please contact the One World Network NRW.
Further information is available here: http://www.resource-recovery.info/de/ausstellung
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