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Kenya shares its learnings with Tanzania and Uganda on the 2050 Carbon Calculator

By | News

At the end of September, Kenya hosted a webinar for the Tanzania and Uganda academic, corporate, and government energy experts to share its key learnings and experience while developing a localized 2050 Carbon Calculator, the Kenya Carbon Emission Reduction Tool (KCERT) 2050.

 

KCERT 2050 is an engineering-based modelling tool that uses scenario analysis to look at different pathways for decarbonisation and their impact on reducing overall and sectorial greenhouse gas emissions. During its development, the team modelled six sectors: Transport, Industry, Buildings, Land Use and Bio-energy, Electricity and CO2 Removal, and Gases, with 2015 as the base year and emissions projected to 2050 and 2100.

 

The KCERT 2050 tool is open-source and allows its users to address fundamental issues on climate change. It looks at future energy demands for Kenya and the impact at an individual, corporate, and government level. Built for Kenyans by Kenyans, the tool is a platform where decision-makers, policy makers, and administrators can co-design a locally based solution for climate and energy issues. The tool was developed under the patronage of the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum and will be hosted and updated by the same team.

 

“In Kenya, the development of the tool was led by the government and anchored at the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum. This was a strategic move as the public sector has access to data that is credible, certified and verifiable,” said Peter Thobora, Assistant Director, Renewable Energy, Ministry of Energy and Petroleum. “At the heart of the development of this tool were all key stakeholders in the public, private, and academic sector to ensure ownership of the tool,” he added.

 

KCERT 2050 will provide quantities of energy supply, demand, emissions, and potential implications for key sectors in Kenya on matters such as import dependence and land requirements. It will also offer a platform to facilitate policy debate about the possible future pathways for the Kenyan energy sector and enable policy interventions for deeper analysis. Further, it could help Kenya meet its updated National Determined Contribution (NDC) of 32% for greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

 

There are three different tools within KCERT 2050 for different categories of people. We have my2050, a simplified animation of the web tool and excel for the general public and students. The second tool is the web tool, a front end version of the Excel spreadsheet used by policy makers, stakeholders and well-informed individuals. The final tool is the detailed Microsoft Excel model targeted at technical experts.

 

During the webinar, Dr. Betsy Muriithi-Ochieng’ explained how the tool works. “The KCERT 2050 model is based on an Excel spreadsheet which feeds the more user-friendly web-based interface. This model captures all inputs and outputs, as well as the different calculations needed to measure energy supply and demand, and greenhouse gas emissions.” Excel, she added, is a simple, easy and accessible tool, making the learning curve for the majority not too steep.

 

After a glimpse on the journey of developing the KCERT 2050 tool, David Orr, Emerging Markets Trade and Investment Lead at Mott MacDonald and Programme Country Manager for Kenya reiterated the importance of exploring how the 2050 Carbon Calculator could be applied at the regional level. He told participants that decarbonization at the country level needs to be locally-led, transparent, and verifiable with a global focus.

 

The webinar was closed by Prof. Izael da Silva, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation, Strathmore University, who credits the success of the 11-month development process to the government of Kenya. The collaboration among government, private sector, and academia was visible and the fruits can be seen.

 

 “This project, by its nature, continues to grow, create more interest and bear more fruit. We at Strathmore are considering including the KCERT 2050 tool as a unit in the Masters in Sustainable Energy Transition,” he added.

 

This project is led by Dr. John Olukuru, Head of Data Science, Strathmore University, and Patrick Mwanzia, Ag. Director, Strathmore Energy Research Centre. It is developed through the UK Government’s International 2050 Calculator programme, funded by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ, formerly BEIS) and implemented by Mott MacDonald, Imperial College London, Strathmore University, CLIMACT and Ricardo.

 

The author of this article is Anne Njeri Njoroge, Communications Officer, Strathmore Energy Research Centre.

 

Helping entrepreneurs in the cookstove industry to professionalise their businesses

By | News

 

By Evans Ongwae

 

Through a GIZ-Green Climate Fund (GCF) project, Strathmore University Energy Research Centre (SERC) is empowering stove producers and last-mile entrepreneurs with skills to help them improve their access to productive resources and sustainable earning potential. These include market-oriented technical, entrepreneurial and managerial skills, confidence building, and other areas of expertise.

 

The project is systematically linked and integrated with other complementary interventions, such as access to markets, appropriate technology, microfinance, entrepreneurship development and follow-up technical assistance, as well as mentoring and coaching services. It adopts a comprehensive, demand-driven, and gender responsive strategy to help entrepreneurs in the cookstove sector to professionalise their businesses.

 

Under the quality assurance work package, the project further seeks to improve the efficiency, durability and safety of biomass cooking stoves in the country, which directly results in better quality of life in terms of health (reduced carbon emissions), time (reduce period of cooking), money (reduced cost of cooking) and climate (reduced deforestation). All the benefits are aligned to the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum (MoEP) goal of “Universal Access to Modern Cooking Solutions for all Kenyans by 2030” (revised to 2028 by the Principal Secretary, in 2019), and to the Sustainable Development Goal (SGDs). 

 

In particular, the project supports SDG 7 on affordable and clean energy; SDG 3 on good health and well-being, with respect to reducing the number of household air pollution-related deaths, currently estimated at three million deaths annually (WHO 2022 household air pollution burden of disease); SDG 5 on gender equality by reducing drudgery in cooking, particularly for women and the girl child; and SDG 13 on climate action by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs). SERC is doing so through quality assurance, and capacity building initiatives targeting the cookstove value chain. 

 

Clean cooking drive

 

Pre-measurement of the amount of charcoal (fuel) used in the Hot Start Phase of the Water Boiling Test.

 

GIZ-GCF Project Coordinator, Teddy Nalubega, says clean cooking is of interest to Kenya. The Government is pursuing the goal of universal access to clean cooking (or climate-friendly cooking) by 2028. 

 

She explains why this matters. “More than 80 percent of rural and urban Kenya combined use biomass for cooking (Sustainable Energy for all Africa hub 2023). This affects people’s quality of life (because inefficient cookstoves cause indoor air pollution, which is unhealthy). It causes loss of time (spent collecting wood fuel), and reduced forest cover.”

 

Ms Nalubega adds: “SERC comes in to provide a solution on how to reduce the sale of biomass cooking stoves that are less efficient, by helping grow the numbers and the sale of more efficient ones.”

 

SERC, she continues, established a lab for testing the efficiency levels of biomass cookstoves sold in the market.

 

She says that the lab initiated stove testing this year and has so far tested four brands and found the efficiency levels could be better.  Three brands scored less than 35 percent.

 

Ms Nalubega says SERC encourages cookstove producers to ask for testing services at the Centre. The facility started testing with stoves brought in through the GCF project implementing partners such as GIZ, who work with producers. The testing lab is open to all cookstove producers for stove testing services, new product design and product improvement under research and development at SERC.

 

“We are working with cooking stoves producers and last mile entrepreneurs,” says Ms Nalubega.

 

The project is supporting these producers, most of them artisanal and others professional, to improve the quality of their stoves and raise efficiency levels to at least 35 percent or more, in line with Kenya Bureau of Standards (KBS) guidelines.

 

An energy-saving rocket stove.

 

Impact

 

Ms Nalubega sees the GIZ-GCF project’s quality assurance initiative at SERC making a major contribution towards clean cooking, with tremendous impact.

 

“It will help improve the quality of life (health and wealth) for cookstove users, especially women and children, save time and money, reduce deaths caused by indoor pollution, and (help) stem climate change,” asserts Ms Nalubega.

 

Professionalising the value chain

 

The Ag Co-Director at SERC, Prisca Atieno, says through the GIZ-GCF project, the centre is helping entrepreneurs in the cooking stoves value chain to professionalise their businesses.

 

“We are honing their entrepreneurial skills,” she says, adding that they are particularly bolstering women-led enterprises “to stand the test of time.”

 

She observes that the traditional biomass cooking stoves business is dominated by artisanal enterprises. “Their businesses can grow once they have been professionalised. They can get loans to expand their operations, and get large orders, for example, from the humanitarian sector,” says Ms Atieno.

 

SERC has developed a business development manual used in training this group of entrepreneurs “to bolster their entrepreneurial skills – such as developing sustainable business models, marketing and branding, calculating costs and pricing, financial planning and management, record-keeping, business planning, and ICT skills for business, among other modules.”

 

So far, SERC has trained 200 entrepreneurs, both men and women, with women-led enterprises accounting for 44 percent.

 

Ms Atieno adds: “We plan to reach out to more people and share knowledge with them. The training takes four to five days and most of it takes place at the county level.”

 

The project targets to have trained at least 1,000 by December 2024. Those who have received the training have experienced business growth, according to Ms Atieno.

 

Expansion of the training will involve SERC training Trainers of Trainers (ToTs). These trainers will offer training in the counties. This is through technical and vocational education and training (TVETs) in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy and the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA), Ms Atieno explains.

 

The GIZ-GCF project started in September 2021 and ends in December 2024.

 

About SERC

 

SERC is an applied technology laboratory within Strathmore University. Established in 2012, it carries out high-quality research, consultancy, professional training, laboratory testing and project development in the energy sector. SERC effectively offers these services to government agencies, private and public sector players.

 

To learn more about SERC and the services it offers, visit www.strathmore.edu

 

This article was first published on the Daily Nation and was written by Evans Ongwae

 

Strathmore study offers ideas on how to promote e-mobilityin Kenya

By | News

Kenya can accelerate e-mobility uptake by reviewing the taxation, standards, importation and registration of electric vehicles. Policies in favour of e-mobility are expected to significantly reduce the transport sector’s carbon emissions. 

 

Several studies funded by GIZ and conducted by Strathmore University in collaboration with Knights Energy recommend so. 

 

Largely, the studies suggest that tax reliefs or exemptions for electric vehicle components can boost e-mobility in the country. Such measures can spur local assembly, conversion, and manufacturing of electric vehicles, observes the report titled, ‘Importation and taxation of electric vehicles in Kenya: Proposals for alignment of the registration process.’

 

One of the researchers who participated in the study, Ignatius Maranga of Strathmore Energy Research Centre (SERC), says the studies identified barriers that hinder further uptake of electric vehicles in the country. 

 

A report compiled from the study notes that, “since Kenya doesn’t manufacture electric vehicles, importation and taxation plays a key role in the availability and affordability of vehicles. Taxation is a determinant of the final price of electric vehicles.”

 

The study is funded by the Advancing Transport Climate Strategies in Rapidly Motorising Countries project (TraCS). TraCS is a project implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. It is funded through the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

 

Kenya aims to reduce its overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 percent by the year 2030 compared to the business as usual scenario.

 

National data shows that the transport sector accounts for about 20 percent of Kenya’s total GHG emissions. The emissions are increasing at a faster rate than in any other sector, hence the need to reduce them.

 

A TraCS analysis shows that an increased uptake of electric mobility has the second highest mitigation potential.

 

The report identifies electric mobility as a key factor to contribute to Kenya’s nationally determined contribution (NDC) of GHG emissions.

 

Mr. Maranga, quality engineer at SERC, says the year-long study carried out in 2020 looked at the e-mobility status in the country. It examined the existing tax regime, the status of standards on electric vehicles, and the registration of imported EVs by the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA). 

 

The report recommends that the Government establishes an electric mobility inter-agency team consisting of relevant public sector institutions.  The team can comprise institutions such as the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), NTSA, the State Department of Transport, the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Environment, other stakeholders, and the private sector.

 

This article was first published in the Sunday Nation under the Climate Action series on 27th August 2023 by eongwae@ke.nationmedia.com

 

What’s your story? We’d like to hear it. Contact us via communications@strathmore.edu

Would you like to know how to install a solar PV system? come to Strathmore Energy Research Centre.

By | News

Since 2014, Strathmore University’s Energy Research Centre (SERC) has been offering training on solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems, mostly to engineers and technicians. Now, anyone interested in learning about how to install the systems can do so at SERC and several technical institutions.

 

This is after GIZ funded the training of trainers of trainers (ToTs) for 40 technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions in the country, at SERC.

 

“These trainers have been equipped to teach solar PV installation following the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) curriculum,” says SERC quality engineer, Ignatius Maranga.

 

Already, the training is helping increase the uptake of solar PV systems in the country, thus boosting the tapping of a key renewable energy source, says, Mr Maranga.

 

SERC, established in 2012 to offer renewable energy consultancy services, has trained 4,000 engineers and technicians in the course on how to design, install and maintain PV systems. “Majority are engineers and technicians who want to seek licensing by EPRA as solar PV installers,” explains Mr Maranga.

 

He says whereas majority of trainees who undergo the Tier 3 course level training at SERC are engineers, experienced technicians also go through the course. SERC also offers tiers 1 and 2 course level, which are the basic and intermediate levels of the courses respectively.

 

The technical courses are classified according to EPRA’s Solar PV regulations of 2012. People who undergo the Tier 1 training are capable of installing DC systems of up to 100 watts. Those who have undergone Tier 2 training can design, install and maintain standalone PV systems of up to 300 watts. Those who complete the Tier 3 training have no limit as to the capacity of the PV solar systems they can install in household, commercial and industrial buildings.

 

Mr Maranga says demand for the training is “very high as we run them once every month, and the number per class are 15.” He, however, says solar water pumping and solar cooling courses run twice a year.

 

Mr Maranga added that the increase in the number of skilled electrical engineers and technicians is enabling more individuals and organisations to adopt solar PV technology. It has also spurred SERC to develop some specific courses, such as solar water pumping and solar cooling systems training.

 

Actors in the humanitarian sector, such as the Norwegian Refugee Council, and ICRC have funded the training of their engineers and technicians.

 

SERC developed a solar cooling training curriculum with the support of Germany’s University of Hohenheim, Solar Cooling Engineering and funding from GIZ. Three small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the first beneficiaries of solar cooling systems developed after the course. These are: a herbs farm in Thika, a dairy farm in Tongaren, and Dunga Beach for fish farming.

 

This article was first published in the Sunday Nation under the Climate Action series on 27 th August 2023 by eongwae@ke.nationmedia.com

 

What’s your story? We’d like to hear it. Contact us via communications@strathmore.edu

Finally, here comes a tool for calculating Kenya’s carbon emission, thanks to Strathmore

By | News

Kenya now has a scientific tool for calculating national carbon emissions up to the year 2100 – and the possible sustainability pathways. The Kenya Carbon Emission Reduction Tool (KCERT) allows for identifying and exploring various scenarios for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, including net zero by 2050. 

 

The scenarios are based on accounting for how energy is produced, converted, and consumed showing the extent to which energy technology, behaviour and land-use change might impact the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

 

The tool, developed by Strathmore University in consultation with diverse stakeholders, will be hosted by the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum for use by government officials, policymakers, and other stakeholders. It is publicly available and open-source, allowing anyone to explore decarbonisation pathways.

 

Strathmore Energy Research Centre (SERC) quality engineer, Thomas Bundi, says interested parties can interact with the web tool through the Ministry of Energy portal and download the detailed Excel tool.

 

SERC is finalising the training of Ministry officials this month. This will pave the way for the Ministry of Energy to host KCERT on its web site.

 

KCERT is funded by the UK Government’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ). Strathmore University is the implementing institution, with additional support provided by the global engineering firm Mott MacDonald and Imperial College London.

 

KCERT uses scenario analysis, supported by expert stakeholder engagement activities to forecast and quantify carbon emissions.

 

SERC consulted hundreds of experts. It held workshops and meetings during the year-long development phase.

 

Mr Bundi says KCERT was adapted to the local context following the general model structure of the MacKay Carbon Calculator developed by the UK Government to calculate UK carbon emissions and future carbon pathways. Over 60 countries have a Calculator; Kenya’s is the first in East Africa.

 

KCERT is built in Kenya by Kenyans for Kenya. Kenyan-specific data on energy demand and supply, and social and economic indicators based on extensive literature review were included in conjunction with expert consultation.  

 

The tool covers five energy demand and supply sectors of the economy namely electricity generation, transport, industry, land use, and residential and commercial buildings.

 

The pathways for reducing emissions are based on a set of parameters or variables called “levers,” which constitute the backbone of KCERT. The levers represent different effort levels or trajectories towards sectoral decarbonisation.

 

The tool depicts the emission reduction scenarios, based on the country’s ambition. The least attractive scenario is where the country maintains the business-as-usual stance. Other options denote different levels of ambition, including the highest, 4, which promises rapid emission cuts in the run up to 2050, when the country hopes to have become a net zero economy. 

 

The tool is currently available at https://kcert.ilabafrica.ac.ke/ 

 

This article was first published in the Sunday Nation under the Climate Action series on 27th August 2023 by eongwae@ke.nationmedia.com

 

What’s your story? We’d like to hear it. Contact us via communications@strathmore.edu

Strathmore Energy Research Center wins an award to develop new solutions and build capacity to unlock the potential of solar thermal in East Africa

By | News

Strathmore Energy Research Centre (SERC) won an award from Innovate UK to develop a two-year project with SolarisKit, to create a center of excellence for solar thermal installation using the world’s first flat-packed solar thermal collector. Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). This center of excellence will harness the potential of solar thermal technology in Kenya, Rwanda, and sub-Saharan Africa in meeting its heating needs. Globally, solar thermal technology provides a way to address the energy trilemma by reducing consumer energy costs, improving energy security, while lowering carbon emissions through heating. However, the current solar thermal technology penetration across sub-Saharan Africa remains low at 0.5 percent.

 

In East Africa alone, wood and charcoal remain heavily relied upon to meet the demands of heating, leading to negative effects on the environment. Further, the continued use of wood and charcoal has led to increased deforestation, contributing to 10 percent of global warming and poor health conditions such as respiratory infections when used indoors, and an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, the use of electricity for heating is expensive for households and businesses and substantially increases the demand on the grid, resulting in carbon emissions where fossil fuels are used.

 

Some of the key barriers of adopting solar thermal technology in East Africa include: high cost and complex installation, difficulty in transportation, and lack of suitable and well trained technicians to install and maintain solar thermal technology. The local manufacture of solar thermal collectors also requires significant capital investment.

 

To mitigate this challenge,  the project will develop the following key components, over the next two years, to enhance the penetration of solar thermal technology in East Africa. This will be implemented while reducing the impact of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, which need to be halved to reach net zero by 2050.

 

  • Create a complete solar thermal system comprising of Solaris Kit’s low-cost easy-to-install flat-packable solar thermal collector, and a plastic piping hydraulic kit to lower system costs.
  • Test a new lower cost DC powered solar thermal pump controller compatible with high efficiency pumps, improving system performance while further reducing system cost.
  • Install demonstrator systems in Kenya and Rwanda.
  • Establish a center of excellence housed at Strathmore Energy Research Center for training solar thermal installers.
  • Conduct a targeted behavior change campaign to raise awareness on the use of solar thermal solutions in East Africa.

 

The solar thermal collector developed by SolarisKit is the world’s first flat-packable solar thermal, a unique device which has a lower manufacturing cost, easier to transport, and simpler to install; addressing key barriers which have prevented the adoption of solar thermal technology. The intelligent, low-cost solar pump controller developed in this project will be suitable for global solar hot water applications, with the ultimate goal of reducing global greenhouse emissions linked to heating.

 

The SolarisKit solar collector is manufactured flat-packed for assembly on site, reducing shipping costs and challenges. It is small and light enough to be installed by a single person, making it much easier to install than current solutions in the market.

 

This project is funded by UK Innovate, under the Energy Catalyst Competition, and is led by Ignatius Maranga.

 

This article was written by Anne Njeri Njoroge, Communications Officer at Strathmore Energy Research Centre.

 

What’s your story? We’d like to hear it. Contact us via communications@strathmore.edu