Project: Research council

Project Details


The nature of current Botswana electricity market can be summarized as: low security and high cost. Low security: the country sees an annual consumption around 3650 GWh, where at least 70% electricity is imported from South Africa. Such high dependency is a cause of great concern to the country's energy security, which is severely affected after the South Africa energy crisis in 2008. Coupled with its sole generation plant (Morupule) under refurbishment, the country is grappling with load shedding which occurs on a daily basis. Even with a well-documented load-shedding schedule in place, unexpected load shedding occurs when a locality's energy demand exceeds 50 MW. The industry productivity and household life quality are thus severely affected. High cost: Botswana has a population just over 2 million, 13.4% of which are living in extreme poverty (less than $1.25 per day), 30.6% in poverty and only 2.7% in urban areas. With a national average income less than £500 per household per month, household has to pay £30-100 electricity bills per month depending on the season, which accounts for approximately 13% of the total income. Swanbarton, a UK SME, will lead a consortium of University of Bath, University of Botswana Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC) and Yuasa Batteries UK in testing the technical and commercial feasibility of a system to support people in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia through the project of EMBOSSA. EMBOSSA will address this problem by enabling them to have a low-cost energy store sufficient to ensure constant lighting and mobile communications. The energy store will be capable of construction locally, mostly from recycled materials (including second-life car batteries and smartphones) and following designs which we will provide as open source, at prices affordable even for poor households. The energy store will be controlled by battery management software with an optimisation system embedded. It makes charge/discharge decisions based onhe electricity tariff, demand estimation and load shedding schedule. The idea is to charge the battery during off-peak times and discharge during peak-time or load shedding periods to: i) saving energy bills and ii) improving electricity security. The key innovations are: i) As the battery system is recycled, it delivers energy security at a price point that's an order of magnitude lower than comparable European and North American solutions. ii) It uses mobile communications technology to integrate the home system to the electricity supplier's systems so that the energy management system could optimize multiple objectives including energy cost, energy security and network congestion. iii) It improves the optimisation performance by integrating real-time load profile estimation from cloud data, which provides an accurate and dynamic understanding of household demand. This project will test the technical and commercial feasibility of such a system to support people in Sub-Saharan Africa. The system will help householders by ensuring that essential services are not interrupted by power cuts, and help them to reduce energy bills. It also helps electricity companies to make fewer power cuts at times of peak load and defer network investment. The recycled hardware will not only stimulate local recycling economy but also give redundant hardware containing toxic materials a second life and saved from landfill. A single kerosene lamp will generate a tonne of carbon over five years. EMBOSSA will also reduce air pollution by enabling local poor households by reducing the use of kerosene.
Effective start/end date1/04/1731/03/18


  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council


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