Sub-Saharan Africa is a rapidly growing economy with huge energy needs. Carnot was awarded a £320k grant from Innovate UK to develop gensets that will provide clean, affordable and secure electricity to rural Sub-Saharan Africa. We are working in partnership with the Ethiopian Institute of Technology and Fraunhofer IKTS Research Institute, developing Carnot gensets to run on locally sourced biofuels. We are also supported by Open Capital Advisors, The Carbon Trust and Energy 4 Impact.
The Energy Trilemma
Carnot gensets uniquely solve all three aspects of the energy trilemma by providing clean, secure and affordable energy to remote communities which lack access to national grids. Operating on locally-produced biofuels will also provide a revenue stream for local farmers
There is huge demand for backup power for the the large proportion of Sub-Saharan populations connected to grids for whom reliability is poor. Clean Carnot gensets will halve the fuel costs of diesel generators which currently perform this role.
Energy poverty is severe in Sub-Saharan Africa and there is heavy reliance on wood or harmful kerosene for cooking. Carnot gensets will enable cooking to be electrified, key to eliminating household pollutants, and giving communities access to refrigeration, television and other similar products which will drive development.
The Carnot Solution
Carnot are developing an ultra-efficient, sustainable 25kW genset that meets the needs of rural communities. These won’t require any cooling/radiation systems but will be very light, easily deployable and simple to operate and maintain. They will also run on locally-produced biofuels. Our gensets will reduce costs, improve energy access to energy and ensure continuity of supply to communities, schools, hospitals and businesses.
Fuel costs typically comprise 50%-80% of the total cost of ownership of gensets and mini-grids typically have to be subsidised. By almost halving fuel use and running our gensets on biofuels generated by local agriculture rather than imported fossil fuels, this would eliminate the need for government incentives and create a sustainable business model.
Carnot’s gensets will be designed to run on both biofuels and hydrogen. Production and use of first- and second-generation liquid biofuel provides an attractive solution for the twin challenges of energy security and climate change and alleviates dependence on imported fossil fuels.
Carnot’s gensets won’t have any cooling/radiation systems, the most common point of failure in modern engines. They will also be very light and easily deployable. They will also be simple to operate and maintain. Combined with a low total cost of ownership, they have the potential to improve access to energy significantly.