African Climate Technology Center (ACTC) selects nine institutions to develop climate mitigation and adaptation research projects across the continent

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The African Climate Technology Center (ACTC) has the mission of supporting Sub-Saharan countries in scaling-up the adoption of clean technologies for adaptation and mitigation, through activities that include knowledge creation and dissemination, support to policies and enabling environment and support to projects. The ACTC is financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), with the African Development Bank as the implementing organ.

At the end of 2016, the ACTC launched a competitive process to support research on the modalities to increase the diffusion of climate friendly technologies in three areas: 1) Integration of Intermittent Renewable Energy Technologies in on-grid and off-grid markets; 2) Market based approaches on the diffusion of Clean Cooking Solutions; 3) Efficient use of climate change adaptation technologies in water usage (e.g. irrigation, supply) (or) storm water/flood management in SSA cities.

The call for proposal raised much interest and seventy-five institutions or consortia submitted their research proposals. Following the review process, nine institutions have been selected (outlined below) and will start their activities in March 2017 for a period of one year. These project will contribute to the objective of creating and sharing knowledge and will strengthen the capacity of African research institutions in these areas.

Integration of intermittent renewable energy solutions

  • The Sustainability Institute (SI) (South Africa) in collaboration with Shack Dwellers International (SDI) will use transdisciplinary research methodologies to enhance knowledge of the conditions that facilitate the adoption of affordable solar PV electricity by the urban poor. The research will be based on the experiences of the iShack project, which has provided over 1,000 small solar PV panels to residents of an informal settlement in South Africa, and will work on replicating the approach in an informal settlement in Accra, Ghana, with whom SDI is rolling out a solar pilot project.
  • The Kumasi Institute of Technology, Energy and Environment (KITE) (Ghana) will work on assessing the role of renewable energy-based off-grid mini-grid systems and service delivery schemes in isolated communities in Ghana. The project is expected to gather evidence and provide insights on the extent to which the systems have addressed the energy access challenge, their reliability, cost effectiveness, and the possibility of up-scaling.
  • The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) (US) will explore alternative pathways to improve electricity access in Ethiopia. The project, in collaboration with the Ministry of Water, Irrigation & Electricity and the Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas of Ethiopia, develops evidence based policy recommendations for optimal use of indigenous energy resources to improve electricity access, promote energy security and mitigate GHG emissions in the country.

Clean Cooking Solutions

  • The Berkeley Air Monitoring Group (US), in partnership with International Centre for Energy, Environment and Development / University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Project Gaia Prospects Ltd. and Winrock International will conduct a pilot evaluation of diffusion and usage of ethanol cooking technology in urban neighborhoods of Lagos. The pilot evaluation will seek to a) identify consumer triggers and motivations for the uptake and use of ethanol cooking technologies and address barriers to adoption pathway and b) measure the emissions performance of the ethanol cooking system and model its potential impact on climate outcomes.
  • The University of Liverpool (UK), in collaboration with the Global LPG Partnership (GLPGP) and the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research (Oslo) will work on modelling the health and climate co-benefits of scaled-up Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) adoption in Cameroon. The Country has an established LPG market (around 12% of the population in 2014) and its government recently initiated plans to expand adoption of LPG. The research will describe the impacts of the planned expansion of LPG use for cooking in Cameroon on both population health and climate change mitigation through modelling transitional changes in fuel use patterns.
  • The Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University for Science and Technology (JOOUST) (Kenya) in partnership with African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS), Clean Cookstoves Association of Kenya, University of Dar es salaam, Tanzania and Pennsylvania State University, USA will research on market approaches for the diffusion of clean cooking solutions in Kenya and Tanzania. The project aims to evaluate and develop strategies for catalyzing the diffusion and adoption of clean cooking solutions in East Africa and will will collect both quantitative and qualitative data using mixed methodologies such as desk review, household surveys using questionnaires, key informant interviews and focus group discussions.

Adaptation technologies in water usages

  • The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) (South Africa), together with the University of Malawi and the University of Botswana, will work on a algae-based tertiary treatment that utilizes a specific consortium of algal species to reduce nutrients and create conditions suitable for effective solar disinfection of pathogens and bacteria in Rural Wastewater Treatment plants in the Southern African Development Community countries. The intention is to implement a self-sustaining system that is independent of electricity or expensive chemicals that can be effectively operated within the current financial and capacity constraints of developing SADC countries using existing infrastructure to reduce health risk and improve reclamation of water in water scarce countries.
  • The ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), in collaboration with the Solar Energy Institute of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (IES-UPM), will work on the dissemination of technical and economical feasible solutions for PV pumping irrigation in the ECOWAS region. The research will focus on the quality of the service of PV irrigation systems, paying attention, first, to the required technical specification which this technology has to meet in the field of agricultural irrigation; second, to the solutions for the intermittent character of solar energy; and third, to the adaptation of PV production to the irrigation needs.
  • ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability - Africa Secretariat (ICLEI Africa), together with the Climate Systems Analysis Group of the University of Cape Town (UCT) will work on the African Water Adaptation through Knowledge Empowerment (AWAKE) project with stakeholders in Windhoek (Namibia), Lusaka (Zambia) and Maputo (Mozambique). In relation to these cities, the project will explore, identify and assess the social and resource barriers and enablers of the development and uptake of locally applicable climate change adaptation technologies that enhance water supply and management.