KUMASI: Ghana set to develop bio-fuel industry
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The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), acting in partnership with the Energy Technology Research Group of the Southampton University, United Kingdom (UK), has commenced research into the use of modern technologies to develop bio-fuel in Ghana.
The Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Ms Sherry Ayittey said this is to help promote energy diversification and security in sub-Saharan Africa and reduce dependence on crude oil in the long-term.
Through this the region would conserve foreign exchange earnings and the ecology.
Ms Ayittey said this in an address read for her at the closing session of a three-day international workshop on developing cost-effective and environmentally friendly bio-fuel at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi.
It brought together the academia, scientists, technologists, industry, and policy makers from Ghana, Asia and Europe.
Topics they treated included “second generation bio-fuels based on
biomass pyrolysis technology”, “computational modelling of biomass fast pyrolysis” and “micro-algae as biomass for energy conversion, scope and possibilities.”
The Minister said initial research and development activities in the country focused on the use of food and energy crops as feedstock
for the bio-fuel industry.
However, it has been established that the use of these feedstock for
energy could compromise the nation’s food security and this could have socio-economic and environmental implications.
Ms Ayittey said given the abundance of various types of agricultural residues, including maize and rice straw, husks, millet and sorghum
straw, the nation stands a better chance of achieving a breakthrough in developing a comprehensive cost-effective and environmentally friendly bio-fuel.
The ongoing research, she said, would take into consideration pyrolysis technique application - the thermo-chemical process that converts organic materials into usable fuels.
Dr Abdulai Baba Salifu, Director General of the Council, said, he was hopeful that the bio-fuel industry would help to provide rural
employment to bring down poverty and create market for agricultural residues.