February 4th  - Low to high-income countries, including the ECOWAS Member States, generate a great extent of biomass, agro-residues, and wastes – whether agricultural or municipal solid wastes. This process has the potential of increasing the generation of distributed power and biofuels as well as optimizing the scope and quality of waste management from smaller villages to bigger cities. The additional advantage of new available innovative technologies is that social hazards, as well as severe environmental damages (e.g. from burning biomass, dumping waste in landfills and exporting waste to third countries), can be stopped.

The use of traditional biomass is prevalent in the region as the principal source of energy for the majority of the population. It accounts for almost 80% of the total energy consumption. The ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) has been actively tackling this issue over the last decade, in close collaboration with the ECOWAS Member-States and through the conception and implementation of the ECOWAS Bioenergy Strategy. The strategy provides clear guidance and solutions that could be adapted to the needs of the region.  Key factors and pillars of the solution equation include fuelwood, alternative cooking fuels, agro-industrial waste, briquetting and carbonization, biogas, waste as a resource, and forest management.

In this context, ECREEE participated in the EUTEC Energy Council Investment Panel addressing bioenergy. Mr. Bah Saho, Acting Executive Director, discussed and shed light on key issues such as:

  • The situation and challenges of implementation of projects related to the conversion of waste and biomass to energy  as well as biofuels production in Africa;
  • The potential role that available technologies could play as a game-changer; and
  • Good examples for taking responsibility and initiative.

Following the intervention of ECREEE, the panel of experts discussed experiences from India, Switzerland and Germany. Participants also had the opportunity to engage with the panellist through a question-and-answer session.