Biomass Mini-Grids for Palm Oil Producing Communities in Benin and Tanzania

Village Industrial Power (VIP) Plants are mini-grid systems powered through the combustion of biomass waste produced at local agricultural processing facilities. The VIP Plants generate mechanical/electrical/thermal energy for use in a diverse range of agricultural activities—processing fruit, palm, rice, and cocoa; dairy pasteurization; purifying water; and powering irrigation pumps. The VIP Plants will be assembled/sold in partnership with local manufacturers, and owned/operated by local Energy Service Companies (ESCOs).
 

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PROBLEM/OPPORTUNITY

In rural areas of Benin and Tanzania, access to modern energy services is extremely limited. Without electricity, farming communities are slow in their adoption of modern agriculture practices—resulting in sparse irrigation, lagging food production, and few opportunities for value-added processing and refrigerated storage. Though some communities depend on fossil fuel-based technologies to meet their energy needs, perpetually escalating fuel costs—coupled with adverse environmental impacts—necessitate the exploration of more affordable and sustainable options.

CLEAN ENERGY SOLUTION

Village Industrial Power (VIP) Plants are mini-grid systems powered through the combustion of biomass waste produced at local agricultural processing facilities. The VIP Plants generate mechanical/electrical/thermal energy for use in a diverse range of agricultural activities—processing fruit, palm, rice, and cocoa; dairy pasteurization; purifying water; and powering irrigation pumps. The VIP Plants will be assembled/sold in partnership with local manufacturers, and owned/operated by local Energy Service Companies (ESCOs).

ORGANIZATION

Camco Clean Energy is a sustainable energy development company with offices across Africa. It is experienced in providing rural electrification through solar, biomass, small hydro, and biofuel technologies, addressing traditional charcoal production and consumption. Camco will co-implement activities with Gazogen, Inc—a firm that specializes in the development of biomass fueled co-generation plants.

What is your strategy for expanding use of your innovation?

The project will result in the establishment of 50 agro-processing centers and village mini-grids capable of producing between 10 and 50kW of electricity for homes, social services, and businesses. It is anticipated that the VIP Plants will service more than 5,000 agrarian families. This clean energy solution will contribute agricultural development and low-carbon economic growth that improves food security, financial stability, environmental sustainability, and women’s empowerment through new entrepreneurship opportunities.

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