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Sub-Saharan Africa will add more renewable energy projects in 2014 than it has in the last 14 years, according to research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

As Bloomberg reports, Africa is expected to add about 1.8 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity, a category which includes geothermal, wind, and solar but excludes major hydroelectric power plants. According to the statement from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the rise in renewable energy in Africa has occurred due to the fact that there’s a growing need for power in Africa and the fact that wind and solar energy costs have dropped significantly in recent years. Due to this price drop, renewable energy can serve as a less expensive alternative to things like diesel, coal, or gas-powered plants.

Compared to the rest of the world, 1.8 gigawatts of energy is small — China, for instance, installed about 11.3 gigawatts of solar alone in 2013. But it’s more renewable energy capacity than Africa added between 2000 and 2013, and some countries in Africa are forecast to keep up the momentum on renewables. Between 2014 and 2016, South Africa is expected to install 3.9 gigawatts of renewable energy — mostly wind and solar — and Kenya is expected to install 1.4, according to Bloomberg.

“What is different now is the breadth of activity, with wind, solar and geothermal exciting interest in many different countries, and the potential for further growth,” Victoria Cuming, a Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst, said in a statement.

Africa has been singled out in the past for its potential to increase its share of renewable energy. In 2008, a World Bank report noted Sub-Saharan Africa’s “huge technical potential for clean energy projects,” and this year, the International Renewable Energy Agency said that, if “substantial flows” of investments are directed toward Africa, the continent’s renewable energy capacity could quadruple to about 120 gigawatts by 2030. Also this year, information company IHS ranked South Africa as the “world’s most attractive emerging country for solar energy,” due to South Africa’s goal of installing 8.4 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity by 2030 and its success so far in securing funds toward that goal.

Africa has struggled for years to provide electricity to its population of more than 1 billion. As of 2011, the total installed generation capacity of Sub-Saharan Africa was 68 gigawatts — about the same as Spain’s, a country dwarfed by Africa in size.

This need for electricity has prompted investment from other countries — in 2013, President Obama announced the Power Africa plan, which aims to double electricity access in Sub-Saharan Africa and includes a $7 billion pledge from the United States. The plan aims to bring “clean, efficient electricity generation capacity” to Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and Tanzania, and part of the plan is focused directly on renewable energy.

OPIC and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency pledged up to $20 million in grants to develop renewable energy projects. China, too, has pledged substantial amounts of money to Africa for use in the power sector, renewing a loan offer last year of $20 to “help African countries turn resource endowment into development strength.”

Source: ThinkProgress

 

 

 

A pupil learns how to operate a laptop(mwakilishi.com)

A student learning how to operate a laptop(mwakilishi.com)

For pupils to have access to laptops, the must requirement is electricity connection in school.  But controversies rose in May 2014 when the Ministry of Education revoked Oliver Telecommunication commitment of KES 24.6 billion to deliver the laptops.

Another controversy as reported by a local daily is that 6,065 primary schools don’t have access to electricity whereas about 15,157 are connected to the national grid as the government intends to proceed with the project.     

Laptop project was one of Jubilee projects highlighted in their manifesto. It is one of the big projects that will help children live up and fit in this world run by everyday emerging technologies.

Rural Electrification Authority intends to finish up connecting the rest of the public schools.

The project is set to see Standard one pupils in rural and urban areas taught on how to operate a machine through course provision.

Source:www.businessdailyafrica.com

 

Nuclear energy is one of the energies that Kenya seeks to adopt to add into the national grid which is with a current capacity of about 1,700MW. Though the project has faced a myriad of opposition, Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB), the body established to see to the development and establishment of nuclear energy in Kenya, is positive to have a nuclear plant set by 2022.

Speaking to Kenya Engineer, an official from KNEB confirms that the feasibility study on the nuclear project is complete and awaits to be tabled before the parliamentary energy committee.

Last month (July) trainees from Kenyan institutions who are involved in developing the country’s nuclear power programme completed the IAEA supported training programme at the Nuclear Power Institute of Texas A&M University. IAEA was working on the pre-feasibility study together with the nuclear authority.

Read also: Varsity starts new engineering programmes

 

 

 

Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) shows that the overall infrastructure spending in the sub-Saharan region is projected to grow by 10 per cent a year over the next decade and will exceed US$180bn by 2025.Kenya has been listed together with Nigeria and South Africa as those dominating the infrastructure market. While Nigeria and South Africa are considered number one in the list, Kenya together with other countries like Ethiopia, Ghana,Tanzania and Mozambique “are also poised for growth”.

The report also shows that spending on utility infrastructure is expected to be significantly stronger in countries that need to upgrade deficient energy, water, and sanitation services and in economies that are rapidly urbanising, such as China, Ghana and Nigeria.

The PwC report also noted that a substantial increase in spending in the basic manufacturing sector is expected in sub-Saharan Africa. “Annual spending in the chemical, metals and fuels sector is forecasted to increase across the seven major African economies to US$16bn, up from about US$6bn in 2012.”

The greatest growth of spending for utilities is expected in sub-Saharan Africa where an annual rate of 10.4 per cent between now and 2025 is forecasted. Spending for electricity production and distribution in the region is expected to rise from US$15bn in 2012 to US$55bn, while expenditures for improvements in water and sanitation services are forecasted to increase from US$3.3bn in 2012 to about US$10bn by 2025.

According to the report, the extraction spending in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to increase at eight per cent annually over the next decade. The bulk of spending is likely to take place in South Africa and Tanzania.

Extracts from African Review

 

 

 

Oceans are the next big source of energy. A large majority of this energy is harnessed from water originating from rivers and lakes, but researchers have recently studied the benefits of exploiting tidal energy to meet worldwide energy demands.

How oceans generate energy?
Tidal or wave energy is a clean renewable resource that is available wherever there are changing tides. This kind of energy is generated where a large dam is constructed across an estuary, capturing energy from incoming and outgoing currents. Once water from the incoming tide has seeped into the dam, it flows into an area where the dam’s turbines can harness kinetic energy from the movement of the water to generate electricity.

According to Article3.com, the other effective way of capturing tidal energy is by placing free standing turbines, which look like big fans, in offshore tidal streams. The fans are similar to the ones you would see at a wind farm, except they are underwater and spun by the ocean’s currents instead of the wind. The ocean’s tidal streams, although slow moving, carry an enormous amount of kinetic energy and spin the turbine propellers to generate electricity.

Generation of electricity through wave power works best in areas that have strong currents and Kenya is currently the largest producer of geothermal energy in Africa. It is one of the two countries in Africa that produce geothermal energy including Ethiopia.

Kenya investing in alternative energies
While Kenya may not be at the level of harnessing energy from the ocean, the government is making deliberate efforts to see the national grid fed with alternative renewable energy which is cheaper and better.

Green energy production also referred to as Renewable energy, is and will continue to be the next top source of power being relied on in most countries across the world.  Green energy replaces the most conservative fuels such as firewood, motor fuels and electricity generation with use of wind, geothermal power and solar to produce power.

Presently, Kenya has ongoing renewable energy projects in efforts to add power to the national grid and as at now, Uasin Gishu is set to host a 40 megawatt solar power plant. The project under Alten Kenya Solar farms will be built within 10-14 months and will commence once the farm gets approval and links power purchase agreement from Kenya Power.

This and many more power projects are expected to add into the national grid up to 5,000 megawatts by 2018 in order to cut electricity costs among consumers and industrialists.



USB cable users will no longer need to worry which side they are plugging the cables thanks to the new make of cables with reversible USB interface.

According to the designers of the cable, the new USB Type-C is small enough for mobiles but "robust enough for laptops and tablets. The cables will however not connect into the current ports that are found on millions of devices.
“Specifications (of the new cable) are now finalised but the rollout will take time as matching ports are included in new devices,” reports BBC on their website adding that, “The agreed exact specifications have been passed back to the non-profit USB Implementers Forum.”

The group developing this next generation of USB cable and connector consists of Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft, Renesas, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments. The industry leaders have been working together to come up with a universal cable and settling on the new Type-C standard marks a new start for them.

The Type-C cable will be similar in size to the current MicroUSB connector, typically used for charging mobile phones and cameras. It will also allow transfer of data of up to 10 gigabits per second; double what is possible at the moment.

FYI-The first USB cables were released in the mid-1990s and, until now, could only be plugged in one way to ensure data connection.

Extracts from BBC News

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oppo, a Chinese smartphone maker has unveiled the N1 mini android 4.3 jellybean smartphone which performs its functions easily with use of one finger.

The smartphone is light in weight and its screen size is much taller measuring 148.4*7.2 by 2*9.2 mm is comparable to Google Nexus 5 in breadth and width.

With a hardware metal finishing in design, it fits on user's palm, has a power button on the left and volume buttons on the right. On the bottom side of the phone is a speaker, micro-USB port, 3.5mm jack and noise-cut microphone. It also has a rotating camera with 13 megapixel sensor with LED flash and a variety of modes applications for photography fanatics.

With 5-inch high dimension of 720*1280 pixels, users can watch videos and music clearly and browse too. Oppo is still a relatively new player in the smartphone market and has only launched eight smartphone globally, including the new N1 mini.

Earlier this week, Oppo priced N1 mini at Rs. 26,990 in India. The smartphone was first introduced in China back in May.

 

 

 

                    

Samsung has unveiled their new make of smartphone, Samsung Galaxy Alpha, which comes with a metallic frame; a move believed to be a counter to Apple Inc’s next smartphone, iPhone 6.

The Galaxy Alpha phone unlike other models which have always been plastic, is metallic. The Korean firm has previously been criticised for the plastic feel of its handsets at a time when other firms have opted to use materials marketed as having a "premium" feel.

The company recently lost its status as China's bestselling smartphone-maker to Xiaomi, a local rival who also feature a metal-framed build.

The new handset has a 4.7in (11.9cm) screen, making it slightly smaller than the Galaxy S5.Its camera has a lower specification of 12 megapixels, but it benefits from being nearly a fifth slimmer, measuring 6.7mm (0.26in) deep, and is also lighter, weighing in at 114g.

Other manufacturers who’ve already shifted to offering part or full-metal bodied phones at the time include HTC, Huawei, Apple and Sony.

However, concerns are there about the Galaxy Alpha phone as the back of it is still plastic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water is a basic necessity in every household but how can one differentiate between clean water and dirty water? Bristol Robotics Laboratory at the University of West of England in partnership with other researchers have come up with a low cost sensor in 3D printing technology to detect bacteria in water.

According to Engineering Technology news, the low cost device designed by Scientists from the department of Chemical engineering can be used to determine the quality of drinking water in real time without using expensive lab equipments.

It adds that the sensor contains bacteria that produce a small amount of measurable electric current as they emerge and when bacteria comes into contact with toxins in water, the electric current drops showing that the water is polluted.

Researchers measure bacteria entry in water by inputting a microbial fuel cell that converts chemical energy into electrical energy. 

“The injection of pollutant into the water saw an instant drop in the electric current created and the drop was relative to the amount of toxin present. The current is recovered once the toxin level falls,” adds Engineering Technology News.

In conclusion, other methods used to ascertain water pollution include use of fish or daphnia which is costly, time consuming and cumbersome to reproduce results quickly.

Source: Engineering Technology news

 

 

 

 

 

 

The recent concluded Africa-U.S Leaders Summit in Washington DC has seen New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition devote more than $10 billion from private investors to accommodate more than 5 million small scale farmers in the original New Alliance and Grow Africa countries and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

According to a press release by a local daily, the investment will see creation of 650,000 job opportunities and boost commitments from 39 new Africa –based companies and nine companies with international operations. Nearly half of the now over $10 billion in New Alliance investments represents commitments from African-based companies, which represent over two-thirds of companies participating in the New Alliance.

The statement adds “USAID has initiated a new model of development that is transforming agriculture and accelerating Africa's impressive growth and potential. Encouraging skills, resources and expertise from the private sector to boost the market and at the same time eliminate poverty.”

The United States contributes to the New Alliance through Feed the Future, its global hunger and food security initiative. In the last year, Feed the Future has reached nearly 7 million small-holder farmers.

Since it was formed four years ago, Feed the Future and complementary efforts have attracted billions of dollars in investments focused in agriculture, introduced affordable new technologies aimed at increasing agricultural production and managing the risks of a changing climate, and introduced nutrient-packed foods to millions of mothers and children around the world.

 

 

 

  • Africa Will add more renewable energy in 2014...

  • Rural Electrification Authority to lights 6,065 primary schools for the laptop project

    Rural Electrification Authority to lights 6,065...

  • Nuclear energy project awaits parliamentary committee approval

    Nuclear energy project awaits parliamentary...

  • Kenya listed as one of the dominants in the...

  • Are oceans next source of energy?

  • Evolution of USB cables happening soon- cables...

  • Features of N1 mini smartphone

  • Samsung goes ‘metallic’

    Samsung goes ‘metallic’

  • Low cost sensor detects bacteria in water in...

  • US-Africa partnerships commits $10bn for...

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World’s biggest tablet is here

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Asus is now the inventor of the world’s biggest tablet. The device dubbed- Transformer Book is a hybrid of a laptop and a tablet. It features Windows 8 OS -the newest version of the Windows operating system.


It converts into a tablet once the screen is detached. “The detached screen of the Transformer Book becomes "the world's biggest tablet", said Asus chairman Jonney Shih at a pre-Computex press conference.


Another hybrid device unveiled by the Taiwanese firm is called the Taichi.It looks like a regular laptop - but it has two displays. When closed, the device is transformed into a tablet. But when open, it becomes a laptop with two full-HD screens on either side - allowing two people sitting in front of each other to view the screens simultaneously.


Both Asus devices run Microsoft's new Windows 8 OS, expected to be released later this year. The Transformer Book’s Android operating system comes into play once the device is converted into a tablet.

 

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