The University of Ghana, has intensified its collaborative efforts in harnessing renewable energy towards accelerating Ghana’s socioeconomic development.
In this regard, the Chemistry Department of the University has teamed up with researchers, engineers, and scientist from the University of Glasgow and the University of Southampton to brainstorm on energy related issues at a workshop in Accra.
The workshop was to identify the gap in the energy sector and propose solutions, to attract research grant of about six to eight million pounds from the Governmental Challenge Research Fund (GCRF), the Royal Society and/or the Leverhulme Trust.
Professor Robert Kingsford-Adaboh, Acting Dean, School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, University of Ghana, said that Ghana’s energy sector still faced challenges that needed to be addressed.
He said in 2014, the Chemistry Department won funding of about £180,000 to train some PhD and Masters’ students in energy related issues, and had published scientific research to that effect.
Prof. Kingsford-Adaboh said the research sought to harvest materials to produce renewable energy that was eco-friendly by synthesizing natural products and using them in devices, he however noted that the outcome of the research was not too advanced, and that the results would be experienced in a few years to come.
“The project will expire this year, but moving forward, we are looking at a bigger grant that will look at solving certain developmental areas within the country; for example, storage materials that can be used to harvest solar energy via our raw materials and natural resources in a bid to have an impact by reducing poverty,” he said.
“We want to use organic materials that will not emit toxic waste, to produce energy. So far, we have efficiency of about eleven per cent, but the worldwide accepted percentage is about 25-30 per cent and we hope that in the near future we can produce usable materials which are portable, efficient and not ecological harmful.
“We are researchers who just develop the prototype, so we work with the industry to produce in the larger scale,” he said.
The workshop discussed what themes of energy-related research and applications of interest, natural resources in Ghana that could be exploited, and what the interdisciplinary team looks like as regards industry, academia, public, and the government.
It also looked at what technologies and capabilities already exist and what is missing.
The GCRF provides funding to under developed countries to build capacity when a solution has been found to a problem, and so we will get a team that can put together a proposal to pitch for the grant.