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Converting Waste to Energy in Ghana.

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Message

Obaa Akosua

http://www.ocrra.org/WTE.html
( one of the few sites i found one this topic)

How many times have we heard complaints and discussions on Ghana's waste disposal? Maybe it's about time we made lemonade from our lemons!

I'm sure some of you have heard of converting waste to energy, but if Ghana will utilizes this innovation, not only will our beaches be clean, our health will be better and who knows our life expentancy might just go up to 60 years instead of the current 57yrs!!!
What's more, the Akosombo Dam is currently not producing enough energy for the country, so this can be a great supplement.

what do u think? I haven't thought abt the costs and stuff but i think it's a great investment for ghana.

Comments

King Mills

The idea of converting waste

The idea of converting waste to energy in Ghana has been on the drawing board for quite sometime,that is if we are believe the authorities.But as you can rightly guess that's where it has been for a long time-on the drawing board.This also applies to implementing other alternative sources of energy like solar and wind energy.

The major challenge that our waste management agencies raise as usual is the lack of capital to finance these projects.

The other side is that there is virtually no public pressure on government when it comes to environmental issues.When did you last hear our politicians seriously discuss recycling for example.For the average person on the street what is converting waste into energy when she is thinking of how to make ends meet.Therefore it is left to civil society,to us,to begin to make demands on government to look into these areas.When there is no pressure on government it just does what it considers politically expedient and most often waste management is the least of its worries.

To take it a step further,if we can't afford the initial capital that would go into these projects as they are currently designed why don't we encourage local scientists and technicians to develop other low cost and effective ways of accomplishing the same end?That is where the importance of supporting local innovation comes in.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO MUCH TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE FUTURE OF GHANA.REMEMBER WHAT NEIL ARMSTRONG SAID WHEN HE LANDED ON THE MOON "ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN,ONE GAINT LEAP FOR MANKIND".SMALL STEPS=GAINT LEAP

GhanaThink Managing Executive abocco

Renewable/alternative sources of energy

On the subject of waste and energy, we could talk about renewable sources of energy too.

With the global increases in oil prices, alternative sources of fuel have been discussed a lot in Ghana.

We need to see more work done in this area, especially in the area of solar energy/cells for rural electrification.

Nice idea, Obaa Akosua, let's research some more about this.

The destiny of a nation at any given time depends on the opinions (and actions) of its young men and women.

Obaa Akosua

Renewable/alternative sources of energy

I know we have health and social workers in Ghana, but but i'm not if an Environmental Protection Agency exist in Ghana. Because an agency like this could advocate for the use of renewable source of energy like this.

These things can be expensive but most of the cost comes from the research. Thanks to the developed nations most of the research has already been done and all we need to do is pay for the service.

Talking about Oil Prices, i kinda heard that they have discovered Ethanol or so somewhere in Ghana. this will be great to into. How come petrol prices never comes down in Ghana??? somebody answer help me out.

King Mills

Ghana has an Environmental

Ghana has an Environmental Protection Agency.I'm sure they have advocated the use of renewable sources of energy but I'm not sure they can force the government to adopt them.The EPA is Ghana also faces its own problems of lack of staff and finances and are sometimes unable to enforce the directives they give to companies.

That's a good question you raised about oil prices.I'm not an expert in that area but my understanding of the recent deregulation meant that the price we pay will be a reflection of world prices so that when oil price on the world market goes down,the cost of fuel will also go down.I know that over the past week gas prices have dropped a little in Canada.Maybe there is something we are missing in Ghana.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO MUCH TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE FUTURE OF GHANA.REMEMBER WHAT NEIL ARMSTRONG SAID WHEN HE LANDED ON THE MOON "ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN,ONE GAINT LEAP FOR MANKIND".SMALL STEPS=GAINT LEAP

OMANBA

WE HAVE A LOT OF OPTIONS

In terms of converting waste into energy, not everything is viable as some substances are quite poisonous when combusted but nothing stops us from getting into the race for recycling stuff like plastics and paper for instance.
We cannot go towards charcoal because deforestation is rife.

However we are blessed with gas deposits, solar energy and wind energy in abundance. We cannot stop putting petrol in our cars just yet; even the advanced countries have not come up with a constant substitute for petrol save bio fuels and electric cars so that can be item 10 for the future.But i feel it in my bones that 'ajongo'(palm kernel oil) is in a class of its own if we have the need to tackle bio-fuel energy. But in the meantime i see no reason why we can't harness the other options for domestic comsumption.

And lest i forget we have atomic energy. But i dare say George Bush and co will probably have issues with that. What? That poor country down the West Coast has a nuclear reactor plant? Get me Condoleeza and Yo Blair on the phone.

r

another example of imported knowledge

Whilst renewable energy is beneficial, the fundamental problem with Ghana is that every "solution" to a problem is imported from elsewhere.

Just focussing on energy, to date, not a single energy technology has been developed in Ghana. Until we as Africans in general learn how to actually develop technology, rathar than simply buy from abroad, no progress can be made.

For example solar pv panels: is a Ghanaian engineer able to design/manufacture a single component of this equipment?

Since time immemorial, all we do is send raw materials to foreigners, who use their intellect to make products and services, that we buy, using more raw materials to pay.

I wonder what the African is to do when we are no longer "blessed with natural resources". Perhaps then we will become like the Japansese; a country with no natural resources, yet able to become a developed country because of effective application of human intelligence.

OMANBA

Bangers and Mash

There is no pleasing some people. And they are forever the eternal wet blankets when it comes to progress. And you can be sure that as many as see a light at the end of the tunnel, there will always be the odd one hoping to snuff out that little ray of light.

Ahem! So we do not manufacture solar panels, nor wind mills and turbines but i can bet my cotton socks that neither do many other countries. But that wont deter them from exploring other sustainable forms of energy nor make it impossible to develop. Especially when the raw material for the energy is in abundance. Thank God the sunlight, rain, wind and gas deposits are free in Ghana/Africa. Buying a few solar panels from abroad in other to reap longer rewards is not a bad bargain no?

But never let it be said that we are not endowed with the know-how when it comes to technology. That is a fallacy! Neccessity is the mother of invention. If the need arises, we have home-grown scientists and technologists who will rise to the occasion and the challenge.
Some will have you believe that our lack of manufacturing plants in certain high tech gizmos is blocking our progress but i have seen many a car or computer or device manufactured in a particular country but the various parts thereof are from different countries. Now either i am seeing double or somebody is so set in their ways that they've lost the plot.

THE CRINGE FACTOR! WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT GOD MADE THREE WORLDS AND THAT I COME FROM THE THIRD WORLD. THE ISSUE OF RACE IS GEOGRAPHICAL AND NOT A STATUS SYMBOL AND NEITHER IS MY SKIN BLACK NOR YOURS WHITE.

r

mediocrity reigns

I am satisfied to be labelled a "wet blanket" if I have the highest ambition for Ghana. I am not satisfied with the mediocrity of necessity being the mother of all invention.

To quote a well known cliche, Malaysia gained independence at the same time as Ghana; look at the technological progress made in that country, to name only one example.

Let me continue my example with solar pv panels. Ghana does not appear to be able to manufacture a single component, even though the raw materials (e.g. sand) abound.

Solar pv panels are expensive. So, when Ghana buys a solar pv panel, how is it going to be paid for? An open palm begging the European for "assistance"? Growing yet another low value agricultural commodity to sell in a world market? Selling another gold ingot (that cannot be replaced)?

It is this fundamental aspect of generating high value that separates Ghana from say, Japan. Japan buys oil from abroad and pays for that energy by producing high value products. Contrast that with Ghana; what high value products are produced?

I agree, Ghana does not need to make every single high technology product, but at least be able to make a component, e.g. in your car analogy, supply an aluminium chassis, or a rubber tyre.

I want more than mediocrity for Ghana and am happy to be criticised by others for such ambition.

OMANBA

EVERY OPINION COUNTS

Comrade R. If you look closely you will see that you are not the only patriot on here. We all feel equally passionate about the motherland, hence the reason why we put in our time and effort on this forum. And when it comes to critisism, i think myself and a few others have had our fair share from you.

Personally i find your adamant and singular stance on Science and Technological innovations as the only way forward in Ghana as very unrealistic and altogether not true. It is probably your feild of expertise and you probably feel passionately about it, but i can't help thinking that you are one of those people who sit in their plush Condo somewhere abroad; equally surrounded by every gadget and gizmo available and suddenly start making comparisms with Ghana.
Anybody reading your posts will think Ghana is so archaic when it comes to science and technology. Give praise where it is due. Moreover we never read from you how you think this innovations should be carried out. Perhaps instead of rubbishing other people's ideas you could put forth a few of your intellectual know-how on how best you think it can be done. This is afterall what the forum is about...'IDEAS' isn't it?
We all know that the world is moving at a fast pace of advancement and neither is any country deaf nor blind to the need to make greater strides. But so saying one has to be realistic about a few truths. Ghana cannot suddenly become like Japan nor America overnight. We are on our way but we are not there yet.

THE CRINGE FACTOR! WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT GOD MADE THREE WORLDS AND THAT I COME FROM THE THIRD WORLD. THE ISSUE OF RACE IS GEOGRAPHICAL AND NOT A STATUS SYMBOL AND NEITHER IS MY SKIN BLACK NOR YOURS WHITE.

r

ideas to think about

"give praise where it is due". Praise for what?

Give me a good example of "innovations" and I'll be the first to say "excellent".

In response to your perception about my posts describing Ghana as "archaic" with reference to science, yes, I am inclined to agree with that perception. So prove me otherwise... ;)

What you choose to call "rubbishing other people's ideas", I prefer to term as "asking questions" :).

You want an idea? Here goes...

Some time ago I conducted some academic research into the extent of academic research within renewable energy conducted in Ghana. I was surprised at both the quality and quantity of such research I encountered, especially compared to other developing nations such as Malaysia. Malaysia is a good example, if my memory is correct, Malaysia, upon independence, was donated Palm Oil seedlings by Nigeria. X years later, Malaysia is one of the leading producers of Palm Oil and associated derivatives, to the extent that such products that contain palm oil derivatives are now capable of being imported to Ghana. This development was underpinned by necesary research and commercial development.

The point I am trying to make is that, from very humble beginnings, significant results can be achieved. I can only speak anecdotally, but I observed Malaysian scientists actually go back to their home country to conclude/commercialise their particular field of research. Contrast the experience of Ghanaian scientists (and Afican scientists overall); home institutions have simply failed to create the conditions for Ghanaians to return to Ghana, often with very valuable skills learn abroad.

One of the key words that you use is "innovations". I'm glad you use that word. If I just focus on this example of 'waste to energy', I am of the opinion that simply reading about technology without the capacity to adapt/invent something new (i.e. "innovate") is not beneficial.

Here's an "idea": the researchers at KITE should study the technology used in the original news article quoted in the first post of this topic.
Then the researchers need to analyse the waste produced in Ghana (this is because waste composition varies across certain countries).
Then the researchers need to "innovate", perhaps by designing an entirely new process of extracting energy from waste, such that technology is now optimised for Ghana's particular requirements.
The question I have: does Ghana possess the engineers suitably trained to be able to "innovate"? On the basis of academic and applied research, the answer seems sadly, no.

How does one solve this problem? I'm afraid it's a long term solution, requiring serious investment in education, which by definition cannot realise a return for decades.

Finally, you state that "we are on our way". Well, fifty years later "we are not there yet". On our way to where?

OMANBA

Tsk, tsk, tsk

Why do you get so hot and bothered Mr R. If you got something to say, say it using your own analogies instead of picking on other people's points and getting all worked up about it. And by your own admissions you have used the words comparism...well i rest my case. It didn't take me long to work out the sums there and you proved me right. And if in your opinion as you wrote Ghana does not have Engineers suitably trained to 'innovate' why are you making so much noise then? You've already branded your motherland as useless and yet you have the nerve to shout Tsooboi?...Such hypocrisy! And why would i want to waste my time citing you examples if you do not have the slightest smidge of confidence in your countrymen but would rather choose to stick by your pompous opinion.

This place is for debating, not a battle ground. If you know it all then form a party and stand for elections in Ghana. Chances are you might change the country for the better. Go for it, i will toss my vote your way.
The majority of us here are contemplating this serious topic of converting waste to energy and possible renewable sources of energy. Your doomsday predictions are not a done deal and you do not know everything that is going on behind the scenes so please pipe down and allow others to put forth their ideas.

THE CRINGE FACTOR! WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT GOD MADE THREE WORLDS AND THAT I COME FROM THE THIRD WORLD. THE ISSUE OF RACE IS GEOGRAPHICAL AND NOT A STATUS SYMBOL AND NEITHER IS MY SKIN BLACK NOR YOURS WHITE.

r

comical

Readers will draw their own conclusions to your reply; I've asked questions and did not get an answer... :)

As is my customary style, I give advance notice of my final posting.

I'm not hot and bothered so stop looking for distractions.

You asked for an idea, I gave you one, you were unable to make a single credible contribution to this topic. Actually I tell a small white lie or two: potential poisonous combustion pollutants and bio-fuel development are perfectly valid contributions. ;)

I've tried to base an opinion upon a particular observation (in this case, the subject of this topic). To call an opinion based upon an observation (which by writing, by implication I am inviting you to read, think and criticise within your own right) "pompous"? A surprising conclusion.

Again, I ask questions which you've declined to answer, which apparently constitutes a "battleground"? I wonder what "debating" is...

"If you know it all then form a party and stand for elections in Ghana"??? Are you serious? How on earth can asking (unanswered) questions about waste to energy equate to justifying to form a political party? If you were really thinking about this topic, you would have suggested "set up a waste to energy business then"!

Without digressing too much, this sums up a common solution to an African problem: unable to win the argument of persuasion? Want to solve a specific problem such as waste to energy in this case? I know! Form yet another political party! Guaranteed road to riches!!

"The majority of us here are contemplating this serious topic of converting waste to energy": so what is happening "behind the scenes"? For you, I'll suggest an easy get-out clause: cite "commercial confidentiality" and you won't have to explain a thing. If engineers are conducting research as we write, then I'll be very happy and look forward to read of their findings in the years to come.

As they say in the debating world: the floor is now yours!

OMANBA

COMICAL IS IT?

Well, well well...talk about a pot calling the kettle black. You see Mr R, you are not here to debate; rather to stand on the roof tops and shout your credentials. Its always about how you know better than others and how inadequate this and that is. I have never heard you say anything positive about Ghana on here. Its always about our lack of this and that(especially the scientific bit) and how in your opinion we are doomed. And if anybody dares to challenge you well God help them.
When i meet people like you on a forum i dont engage in discussions with them because they wont see any good in what you have to say. Its always their way and nothing else. So i am sorry if you are miffed that i didn't answer your questions...you dont deserve answers. Did you say i didn't make a single credible contribution to this topic? Well funny how you want to engage in a discussion with someone like me who is talking nonsense. But i bet your contributions were valid so we will leave it at that. Hopefully that should boost your ego.

I remember in a previous post you saying that a proposal you put forward was not taken seriously; well i am not suprised seeing as you come on too strong. True you might have the intellect but presentation in a nice way is not your forte so work on it. It's okay to be impatient that progress in one's country is slow; and in that any forward thinking Ghanaian will wish a lot of things were different. But what is not okay is making comparisms without taking certain factors into consideration (i would have loved to touch on a few factors but where you are concerned i would rather hold my peace) and expecting too much.

So this will be my final word on this particular post. I leave it to your excellent knowledge and judgement to show us the way forward on how best you think the problem of energy can be resolved. I will be reading with immense interest. Who knows i might learn something from you.

THE CRINGE FACTOR! WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT GOD MADE THREE WORLDS AND THAT I COME FROM THE THIRD WORLD. THE ISSUE OF RACE IS GEOGRAPHICAL AND NOT A STATUS SYMBOL AND NEITHER IS MY SKIN BLACK NOR YOURS WHITE.

Panyin

Petrol Prices never come down?

Remember the phrase;
"FORWARD EVER" OR SOMETHING LIKE "INFLATION".