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Energy

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Modern economies strongly rely on the supply of energy from a variety of sources. The cost of energy is a decisive factor in the economic development in such societies. In many cases the availability of energy is the prime condition to facilitate further development and to improve living conditions. Another driving factor is Global Warming, as many fossil fuels contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases. In the coming decade(s) fossil fuels will therefore be replaced by renewable energy sources. Particularly in tropical regions solar energy is in abundance available and therefore attractive, but also hydropower, biomass, geothermal power and wind power can be applied widely.

Particularly in sectors where energy costs take a substantial share in the operating costs it yields to invest in energy savings as these may easily result in in a reduction of energy consumption of 20%, thus having a distinct impact on the profitability of the operation.

In countries where the use of fire wood and charcoal is widespread we find another incentive for energy saving and the use of sustainable energy sources: prevention of serious deforestation.

PUM experts have vast know-how of technologies to generate and convert energy but also on energy efficiency measures to save energy, in industry and other commercial enterprises as well as in consumer applications. They have knowledge of the latest developments and share a network in Dutch and European companies active in the energy sector. They are well equipped to transfer their knowledge and experience in trainings and seminars. Also the environmental effects of energy generation/conversion/consumption (like air pollution and waste materials) are covered by PUM’s energy experts.

 

Areas of expertise

Distributed energy generation from renewable sources

  • Solar electricity generation and storage, both in offgrid systems and grid connected systems.
  • Thermal solar systems, including hot water systems (hotels, hospitals) and solar dryers (food processing).
  • Solar driven pumping systems for fresh water and irrigation.
  • Hydropower generation.
  • Biomass (combustion, gasification, fermentation)
  • Biogas, biofuels (conversion of waste oils).
  • Geothermal energy generation.
  • Application of wind turbines.
  • (e-) Training: at site, online or hybrid format

Distribution (networks) & conversion of energy

Not only the generation, but also the distribution needs to be taken care of in a reliable and safe fashion.

Efficient use of traditional energy sources (fire wood, )(liquefied) gas), energy savings

Where still traditional sources are applied, one should take care that they are handled in an (energy) efficient way.

Co-generation of heat & power (CHP-systems)

Efficiency can be greatly boosted when heat and electricity are generated in combination.

  • The avoidance of harmful effects of energy processes.
  • The economy and marketing of energy operations.
Roméo Gobou
Director CFPP-IRETI N'LA, Benin

“As a result of the improved solar panel course, we are confident that more students will register, providing us with more income to invest in our own building in the future. Last but not least, a larger number of educated solar specialists will have an impact on the entire population of Benin, in social, economic, and ecological fields.”

Client examples

Solar e-training

Training was given in various countries to both teachers and students in the field of solar energy: on/off grid, drying/heating, pumping/irrigation etc. The training was done with the help of videos, in which presentations were explained, followed by live Q&A sessions. A reader was made available.

Solar energy savings in hotels

Our experts have executed energy audits resulting in advice on energy saving measures. A chain of eco-hotels faced fast growing electricity bills. Following a well-structured checklist simple energy savings of about 25% could be identified. With the application of solar PV and Solar Hot Water and improved control of energy functions (airco, lighting, cooking, etc.) additional saving of 30 % could be proposed, with a return on investments of less than four years.

Bio energy from farms

Huge energy generation is feasible turning animal manure into biogas (using the residues as fertilizer). In several cases high volumes of biogas were obtained from poultry waste. Other applications range from sugar cane bagasse and other crop waste to be turned into biogas (methane) or biofuel (methanol).

Biodiesel from waste cooking oil

Vegetable oil and animal fat are excellent feedstocks to be converted to biodiesel. To avoid competition with food, it is better to focus on waste oils. PUM helped a company to set up a manufacturing facility for the conversion of waste cooking oil and brought the client in contact with an experienced operating company in the Netherlands. The right operating parameters were defined, and a good project strategy was implemented.

Solar pumps for irrigation

In co-operation with the PUM sectors “Water” and “Agriculture” we advised the replacement of diesel driven pumps with (submergible) pumps run on solar electricity. Such pumps avoid expensive fuel for the diesel pumps and with a water storage bin allow for controlled irrigation at selected periods. Combined with a water saving system of drip irrigation and appropriate fertilisers the harvest was doubled. Environmental benefits are less noise and air pollution and reduction of CO2 emissions. Return on investment is as low as about three years.

Mini hydropower stations

A Latin American Company that operates 12 mini hydro systems was advised on their strategy for the future: which stations need to be replaced when and what are opportunities for future expansion? Now they are refurbishing their worn-out stations with the newest turbines, generators and control equipment.

Solar drying

Do you want to improve the quality of your dried products or increase capacity? Do your products do not reach the right moisture content in order to obtain long storage times and good preservation? Then PUM may be able to advise you. Below we inform you on how PUM can collaborate you to implement a better system for solar drying facilities, such as greenhouses or dedicated drying rooms.

Most common problems

Agricultural products like fruit, rice, wheat and other products like fish often need to be dried in order to increase shelf life. In tropical areas, the air is very humid. Consequently, drying times can be very long, products do not obtain the optimal moisture contact and the product can become mouldy. If you dry the products in the open air, it may start to rain, counteracting your efforts to dry it. Also, animals may enjoy your food, and pollute it. PUM experts have a vast knowhow of drying technology to improve drying times and product quality. By applying Solar Energy, energy costs are minimized.

 

Most common solutions

These problems can be circumvented by drying inside, for instance in a greenhouse. The advantages are obvious:

  • No impact of rain
  • No access for animals
  • Higher temperatures, water evaporates more easily and the air can absorb more water

However, also in a greenhouse, the right conditions need to be selected in order to obtain the optimal result. Temperature and ventilation or air flow play a very important role. In a somewhat fancier system, you can make use of thermal solar panels. These are basically plates absorbing all sun light and heating up the incoming air. The advantage is that air temperature can be controlled more easily and drying capacity can be increased. You can make use of natural convection to obtain the right air flow, alternatively, ventilators can be applied.

What can the PUM expert do for you?

The PUM expert will look at your specific situation and give recommendations that provide you with the best result at the lowest possible costs. We can calculate what the best drying conditions are, what air flow and temperature you need to dry your products. We can help you to design the dimensions of your drying system or greenhouse. The materials required for the construction of a drying system are usually simple materials and low-cost. They can be made locally and installed at your premises.

 

 

 

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