man working at Kilifi plantation
Kilifi Plantations Ltd. biogas plant in Kenya where sisal is being processed

Developing and deploying bioenergy solutions across Africa

Delivering good results in phase one, LTS, part of the NIRAS Group, is selected once again to lead a DFID project to increase investment in the bioenergy sector

10. May 2019

LTS, part of the NIRAS Group, has been awarded phase two of a £1 million DFID-funded research project that focuses on supporting bioenergy development and deployment across Sub-Saharan Africa. The two-year ‘Bioenergy for Sustainable Local Energy Services and Energy Access in Africa’ project aims to investigate techno-economic barriers, supply chain challenges, market and policy issues, and innovative business models as well as financial solutions to identify potential opportunities and ’sweet spot’ regions for bio-energy development in Sub-Sahara Africa.

Our approach will be to identify and characterise a portfolio of investment opportunities that highlight promising bioenergy pathways applicable to multiple locations and conditions.

LTS project manager and bioenergy expert Ankit Agarwal

LTS was the phase-one supplier for this two-phase project together with E4tech and University of Edinburgh. Phase one was mainly aimed at investigating the barriers to adoption and deployment of bioenergy across sub-Saharan Africa.

The key outputs of this scoping study:

  • A comprehensive assessment of the main barriers to bioenergy development across all six tasks areas;
  • Identification of the most promising bio-energy technologies;
  • Recommendations for tackling challenges facing these technologies to attract further investment.

A total of 18 detailed in-country case studies were carried out in this project. Further details can be found in this report.

The key impacts of this scoping study:

  • Enhanced understanding among various actors on affordable, accessible and innovative bioenergy technologies and business models to poor people’s access to bioenergy in sub-Saharan Africa;
  • Design of phase two of the ‘Bioenergy for Sustainable Local Energy Services and Energy Access in Africa’ project.

Kilombero Plantations gasifications plant in Tanzania provides electricity to a self-contained agricultural consumer.

With a strong emphasis on providing practically oriented applied research, phase two will see LTS joining hands with three leading bioenergy focused organisations spanning academic (Aston University- Eurpoean Biomass Research Institute), engineering (Aiguasol), and commercial (e4tech) sectors that strongly complement our development expertise.

Overall, this project is very timely as LTS is keen to leverage the vast networks, contacts and market intelligence we will develop across both the UK and Africa during this project to provide further opportunities to strengthen NIRAS’s sustainable energy competences. The project will particularly build our expertise on topics relating to bioenergy, agriculture-energy nexus, and private sector development in the context of developing countries.

We envisage a large number of open-source reports and products that will emerge from this research. We are happy to share these with colleagues interested in tracking this research or particular aspects of it.