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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Strategies for rural electrification in Sub-Saharan Africa

Over 16% of the world populat ion currently have no access to electricity, with 53% residing
in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This report investigates the total daily energy consumed for
cooking, lighting and heat ing using traditional fuels and the time-of-use of these three
primary energy services for a representative rural village in SSA. The traditional fuels
predominantly consisted of fuelwood, kerosene and charcoa l. Based on this analysis, this
report assessed which modern energy technologies can best supply the energy demand.
The key find ings revealed cooking to consume 89% of the total daily 17±9.9 kWh/cap
demanded. Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) was found to be the cheapest fuel capable of
supporting cooking services, and could be better paired with electricity delivered by the grid
and/or PV microgrid for providing other energy services. Moreover, the provision of modern
energy services in the form of supplying a traditional household with modern energy utilities
enables 74% in energy efficiency savings compared to using traditional fuels.
Previous work explored the provision and impact of rural electrification on living standards.
Congruently, this ana lysis further addresses the differences in energy quality delivered by
modern technologies, and their impact on the rate of social and economic development.
The first part of the methodology entailed collection of quantitative data previously
gathered by the Millennia! Villages Project's (MVP) in the form of surveys. Secondary data
such as existing energy service load curves, field expert advice and qualitative characteristics
of modern energy technologies were incorporated. Further data ana lysis was performed
using Excel to determine daily energy consumed, disaggregated load curves and best suited
modern energy technology.
The findings herein provide a base for further primary data gathering and subsequent
assessment of modern technologies' . The impact of changes in energy consumption
behaviour cou ld have been evaluated if the scope of the analysis was extended. Collectively,
these outcomes could be utilised by policy makers anc private sector companies to make
informed and strategic decisions to efficiently and effectively energise a rural township.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.