Geplaatst door Sabi Aoni

Off-grid renewable energy system can prevent malaria

One may wonder what the relation is between SOPRA, a new renewable energy source that produce sustainable electrical energy, and Malaria, a Mosquito-borne disease. In fact there is no technical relationship that bind them. However, from my personal experiences, there is a strong relationship between the lack of electricity and the growth of Mosquito. The most affected area by malaria in Africa is Sub-Saharan Africa (90%) and a further fact is that approximately 70 % of the populations in this region don’t have access to electricity.

Malaria and Africa
According to World Health Organization (WHO); the African Region represents 85% of malaria cases and 90% of malaria deaths worldwide. Statistics from Bill & Melinda Gates foundation and a partnership for Malaria prevention in Africa show there are estimation of 207 million of malaria cases around the world every year. If 85% of this number in Africa as WHO said, it means that there is approximately 176 million of malaria cases in Africa yearly. This costs African countries 12 billions of dollars annually. The result is that Malaria is one of the obstacles to the development.

To prevent the disease, the most effective manner used today in Africa is the use of insecticide-treated nets that significantly reduce the chances of being bitten by a mosquito [Develop Africa], but many people don’t have these kinds of nets. In addition, it is a partial solution that can be used at night. In other words, this approach is not going to eliminate Malaria as achieved in the most of Western Europe since 1930.

Mosquitos use the blood (iron and protein) to make their eggs, which is costly and deadly. Where, every 30 second a child dies due to Malaria. It is also observed that the malaria parasite has begun to resist insecticides and drugs that currently used; Mosquito change its tools. Human beings also need to change the tools that currently used to at least to reduce the number of Malaria victims.

SOPRA as Sustainable Solution
SOPRA system as environmentally-friendly energy source can assist to reduce the number of Malaria cases. Via this system we can have a community with access to improved water supply and sanitation. Why water supply and sanitation specifically? Without exaggeration in Africa these are main sources of Mosquitoes and consequently Malaria. Because of the absence of environmental and health awareness in the rural area and indeed the absence of infrastructure, they waste the dirty water not by channeling it into the sewer, but by wasting it in the surrounding environment, this place became later the best place for Mosquitoes to live and make its age. Processed drinking water that have been provided by sustainable and reliable energy sources can lead to healthy community.

In Savannah’s arears of Sudan it is difficult to sleep outdoor in the autumn’s season (the risk of being bitten by Mosquito is high), at the same time it is difficult to sleep indoor without cooling system, due to the average temperature of 35 C and in this case SOPRA can provide uninterrupted power supply to cool the house down, to avoid mosquito bites.

The people who are living in the cities they use fans (moving the air) to repel the mosquito.

As mentioned in Annual Lecture on Malaria and Human Rights, by Professor Paul Hunt, UN: Six out of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) cannot be achieved without tackling malaria. Even though, MDGs are international community’s commitment, which are not easy to achieve. However by having Renewable energy source such as SOPRA can assist to reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes and drying its breeding places. The result is a healthy society plus good economic status.

European policies boost solar energy generation

There will be a growth of solar energy in Europe by approximately factor of five (16 GW to 80 GW), between 2009 and 2040. Students who specialize in renewable electrical energy have lots of opportunities.

Energy sources

Generally speaking, there are two types of electrical energy sources: Renewable Energy Sources and Non-renewable sources. Renewable Energy Sources (RES), including solar, wind, biomass, hydro and geothermal powers are sources of energy that can be renewed and never exhausted. They are from environmental friendly resources, which their impact is less to the surrounding environments.

While non-renewable sources intended a fossil fuel such as oil, gas and coal, that can run out and cannot be renewed. About 87% of our energy comes from nonrenewable fossil fuels.

Carbon dioxides

On the other hand, the main sources of Carbon dioxides are Non Renewable fossil fuels. They are extremely responsible of global warming, due to their CO2 emission. Using more sustainable energy can reduce the dependence of fossil fuels, which consequently lead to reduce Carbon dioxide emissions.


In Europe the awareness of the dangers of global warming is high. Where, the total emissions of Carbon dioxide of OECD-Europe countries are less than US and China who are the largest producer of CO2. Figure1 emphasize that, where it depict the prediction of Carbon dioxides up to 2040. It is show that China is the main source of CO2 among industrialized countries; US and OECD-Europe’s.


It should be noted that the data for our graphs are taken from International Energy Outlook 2013 of U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) that based also on international energy statistics database November 2012.

Dramatic increase

As reference for the growth of renewable energy sources in Europe we will address the growth of solar energy, as one of sustainable energy sources which is dramatically increased, where statistics and predictions from EIA show that the power generation from Solar was increase from 16 Gigawatt in 2009 to 61 Gigawatt in 2013 as shown in figure 2. This increment will not be possible without the European Policies that encourage the use of sustainable energy as power sources. According to the Magazine of Intelligent Energy Europe Programme, it is expected that they will reach to at least target of a 20% share of total energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.


Opportunities for students in The Netherlands

In the Netherlands the electricity is generated mainly from gas and hard coal. According to Dutch government policy they want to increase the total Dutch energy consumption from renewable energy sources from 4% in 2010 to 14% in 2020. The Government wishes to reach to these targets not only by offering expensive systems but via promoting innovation also. It means that students who specialize in sustainable energy and its management have a lot of opportunities.


Mini Smart Grid for Student of HAN University of Applied Sciences

In the summer of 2013, I asked my supervisor, what SOPRA is. He told me it is a power station for rural area electrification.  I said to myself via this project I can assist my local community in the future. After spending several months working with the HAN SOPRA system as a trainee, I realized that I am not going to assist the rural area’s people of my country only, but it would help me also to understand a lot of phenomena in the area of electrical engineering and control.
Luckily I have been guided by experts in the field of electrical power and energy from HAN and DNV GL (former KEMA).
There is a real SOPRA power plant in the Engineering building of HAN that produces PV and wind turbine power to feed a load demand. Also there are dedicated batteries   for the storage of extra power, to be use later if is required.
Smart master controllers keep track of the power in the system E.g. if the load demand is more than the sustainable energy supply this master controller knows instantaneously how much power is needed from the demand and call the inverter to take it from the battery bank.
If the energy in the battery bank is less than the minimum limit, the controller will turn on the diesel generator automatically to match the load demand and avoid a black out.
Students not only learn how Solar and Wind  are used to produce the electricity, but will also learn how to make a model that describes the behaviour of the PV-panels and wind turbines and  estimate in which month there will be a maximum and minimum power from these renewable energy sources (RES).

It is interesting that all these tests and experiments can be done by students!

Off-grid power plants will boost economic development

The Sustainable Off-Grid Power Plant for Rural Applications (SOPRA) brings renewable electricity to rural areas that are not connected to the fixed energy network. By using SOPRA technology, we can reduce impediments to economic development in developing countries.

Imagine! You are living in a place where you don’t have electricity or access to the national electrical grid.  What are the consequences?  The consequences are indeed uncountable. For example: you are not going to have a lighting system, clean water, TV, a cooling and heating system. A refrigerator and the Internet are the last things that you will think about.

That is why I – a Sudanese master student – chose to work on the SOPRA project, which refers to Sustainable off grid Power Plant for Rural Area. It is a sustainable option to solve the problem of rural area electrification.

As reference, let us take the Sub-Saharan Africa region, which is the region where I came from. According to some references 75% of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa remains without access to electricity. There were 800 million people living there in 2007. It means there are more than 600 millions of people who are living without electricity in this region. And this number is expected to rise due to the population’s growth in this area. The UN predicts a population of nearly 1.5 billion in 2050.

How can SOPRA change the lives of millions of these people?
SOPRA, as smart grid technology system, consists of two renewable energy sources: solar and wind. Battery packs are used as a storage device and a smart master controller PLC is used to monitor and control the power flow in the system. This technology can change the life of millions of people in the rural area.

The main benefit is that – changing their life from conventional to modern life style – they will have electrical lighting systems instead of kerosene lamps, the day length will be extended, they will have clean water and the illness from water diseases like Cholera and Malaria will be reduced. The electricity also provides better education and health centers systems, which lead to healthy and educated community. Moreover, the SOPRA system is environmental friendly and its impact to surrounding environment is negligible. By using SOPRA we serve humanity!