Posted on: October 24, 2011 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

A network of decision makers in sustainable energy, resources and services was formed as African Clean Tech Association (ACTA) on 24 October 2011.

Members include officials and bodies working in policy, delivery and investment in coal, nuclear, wind, solar, biofuel, water, recycling and carbon reduction.

ACTA represents the interests of the continent’s clean tech industry, and leverages assets in creating ‘green’ jobs and promoting business development. Its mission is to establish “a thriving clean technology industry by providing representation, networking and capacity building”.

ACTA says in its launch statement that the global rush for deployment of sustainable technologies, takes on a particular angle in Africa, having to answer against diminishing and over exploited resources, unsustainable development aspects, and a dire need for socio economic improvement.

“Clean technologies include technologies driving renewable energy, drinking or potable water, waste water and sewage treatment, and waste resources recycling. In Africa, bio fuels production and processing are among several sectors that enjoy research, development and investment.

“African sustainability relies in part on ensuring that people have daily access to energy and water resources, at minimum environmental cost, says ACTA.

“New cost effective solutions such as the provision of affordable education, health care services, telecommunications, bring about significant socio economic benefits to underserved regions. Clean technology could also be leveraged for socio economic priorities,” says Suza Adam, who heads ACTA.

Wood, solar panels, desalination in Africa

Adam cites agricultural production and preliminary processing of biofuels, and production of activated carbon by using organic waste, as examples of new enviro jobs.

High tech projects in renewable energy such as solar, by CSP or photovoltaic farms, are having substantial economic impact on peripheral communities.

New cost effective drinking water solutions are accessible by hybridising self contained systems, using renewable energy for desalination in remote areas.

African clean tech is “not so much about reduction of greenhouse gases, individual carbon footprint or other fashions, but about enabling a set of technologies to change the lives of some economically marginalised communities”, said Adam.

Wind, gas energy in Africa

Adaptive solutions have been introduced and proposed where renewable energy is more scalable and simplified for operation and maintenance. More efficient wind turbines are now economically viable in regions with low wind capacity.

Gas cycle turbines also enjoy more efficient design and lower cost. Technologies that recover heat waste from processing plants are now being introduced in a cost-effective manner. The same trend is witnessed in waste recycling, sewerage treatment and co-generation of electricity from effluent treatment.

Green finance in Africa

In finance there has been a shift from general investment fund to more dedicated clean tech funds whose mandates are specific to development of initiatives in Africa.

While some funds are small, others range from US$100-million, with US$1-b dedicated for biofuel projects. Depending on how project initiatives are defined, these may enjoy funding support from traditional financing houses, such as Industrial Development Bank and African Development Bank.

* African Clean Technology Association (ACTA), via Suza Adam, 082 789 9777, www.africancleantech.org

PHOTO; ACTA head, Suza Adam, based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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