Africa is a major producer of oil, natural gas and coal. Yet, as few as 2 percent of some sub-Saharan African populations have access to electricity because of the expense and unreliable supply. Wood fuels burned in open fires and primitive cookstoves provide over two-thirds of the total energy (non-human, non-animal), and over 85 percent of the non-industrial energy. Indoor air pollution from these primitive cookstoves is a leading cause of death, particularly for women and children. Africa"s energy sector is characterized by insufficient investment, distorted markets and ineffective governance. More conventional approaches such as "appropriate technology" and "second generation biofuels" (jatropha, palm, etc.) have had little impact.
This talk presents an overview of the energy sector in Africa, examining technologies that have had commercial impact with a focus on tools that hold particular promise for widespread dissemination. The technologies include improved biomass cookstoves, distributed electricity generation and microgrid technology, and biofuels from algae -- a "third generation biofuel." There will also be a discussion of successful approaches which have been applied in other regions of the developing world.
Event Agenda and Presentations
Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Ph.D., Stanley C. Moore Professor of Bioengineering, Rice University
"Energy for Sustainable Development in Africa"
Bryan Willson, Ph.D., Director of the Clean Energy Supercluster and Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering of Colorado State University; co-founder of Envirofit International