Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The production of cheap rural energy to support post harvest technologies

25th of july 2010. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. FARA GA 2010. Interview with William Ilboudo, engineer, "Innovation en solaire et metallique"

The production of cheap rural energy to support post harvest technologies

Transcript of the interview:

Your project was selected for the World Bank Agricultural Market place?
We have worked on the idea of a rural food processing production unit. We use solar energy and waste of agricultural production like the nuts of mangos. We can also use the residue of manioc to produce “akieke “. Unfortunately this installation was not yet put into service because of lack of funding.
What was the basic technology?
Parabolic metallic dishes transform solar energy into steam and the steam is used directly for food processing or to produce hot air. We used both solar energy and the agricultural waste.
Why did the project not get a prize?
The reaction was very positive in Washington but because of my poor English I could not defend the project as I wished.
How to transform agricultural waste into rural energy?
Let me give an example. You make Shea butter with a press. The remaining shelves have 3 times more energy than wood. You burn them to operate your whole Shea butter process. If you combine this with solar energy you become autonomous. You produce steam to filter your oil. You remain autonomous far from Ouagadougou: in Bura or in Leo… 
Take another example like mangos. Gaz is presently used to produce hot air to dry them. But you can also use the nuts. You burn them, you produce steam and with a temperature converter you produce hot air to dry the mango. This also prevents possible contamination of the mangos with gas. You can adjust the temperature according to the influx of hot water in the converter.
Why is it important to diversify sources of energy in post-harvest production?
When you think of renewable energy for post harvest production you cannot rely on only one source of energy. The sun shines when it wants to shine. And accumulating or conserving energy is very expensive. Therefore, the mix of solar energy and bio mass energy is highly recommended.  In Burkina we have a lot of re-usable bio mass. Take f.i cotton: 1 ton and a half of residu remains after harvest. When you combine this bio mass with solar energy you can process food even in remote areas in Burkina Faso.
Which European partners do you have?
We collaborate a lot with Solar Food which wants to create a certificate on solar food. Buts also other small organizations. But our major concern is to be considered by African institutions.
Why do African researchers rarely collaborate with innovators from the private sector?
The African researcher often works in isolation. It’s collaboration between institutions and meetings among researchers in order to find funds for their research. Often and their research findings are far too expensive when they want to make it available to the African private enterprises. We need a research which is affordable according to our means.
What are your expectations towards African research institutions?
The African institutions tend to do what has already worked. The AFRICAN SHORT CUT is ONLY POSSIBLE when you accept to innovate and take risks. Institutions have therefore to support people who innovate and they must be willing to take risks. It is not the figures at the end of the year which count but the impact they have.

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