Biomass valorisation in Africa as a solution to climate change
16th-17th March, 2020
Patronage of the Ministry of Energy of the Kingdom of Morocco
Location: Centre d’accueil et de conférences à Hay Riad, Rabat
Introduction to the programme
Africa disposes of millions of tons of biomass across the continent every day- whilst some of these wastes are used as animal feeds and soil improvers; much is burnt in the open environment, dumped into uncontrolled landfills, or left to rot in the open.
Yet the two huge assets Africa has (huge amounts of biomass and warm temperatures) could be exploited to create both energy and fertilisers beneficial to help African countries meet their climate change targets. Managing wet, biodegradable wastes to transform these into biogas would reduce GHG emissions, improve renewable energy production and provide employment, a cleaner environment and low impact fertilisers for agriculture. Conversely, using waste wood from controlled forestry activities can ensure a supply of low cost heat and fuel in many off grid localities and avoid the destruction of forest resources.
For a study on the potential of biomass use in Africa, https://www.iea.org/reports/africa-energy-outlook-2019
In the past, the transformation of biomass into energy has been done mainly by combustion in incinerator plants. However, today the conversion of energy from biomass can be achieved using various technologies. In fact, there is a much wider range of technologies suitable for energetic waste utilization, e.g. gasification, pyrolysis or the biochemical processes to produce biogas, especially if a sustainable waste management system is implemented and valuable fractions (such as glass, metal, paper, plastic etc.) are separated first for re-use and recycling. The basic concern is that the circular economy saves more greenhouse gases than it generates. In contrast, many emerging and developing economies in Africa face the major challenge of developing an adequate waste management system that complies with the basic principle of the circular economy and/or improving existing but inadequate and unsustainable waste management systems.
Africa so far has not been able to develop these industries on an industrial scale- biogas is limited to very small household/community units which while extremely important in the local context, do not resolve the larger waste issues from urban centres where most of the populations are now living. Planning, planting and managing forestry resources to provide localised heat for communities could help transform the landscapes of Africa where forests have been cut, back into planted areas.
Clearly barriers exist to developing these virtuous actions: financial, logistical, legislative and technical.
This conference aims at exploring what can be done to overcome these barriers and push more quickly towards a low carbon emissions society. Furthermore, the conference output will focus on the best and appropriate biomass conversion technologies for the African case.
The Kingdom of Morocco will begin its planning on the valorisation of biomass in 2020. Having already achieved 42% of energy production (electricity) through its massive investments in solar power, the country is now looking at how to produce fuels and heat from other renewable sources. (https://www.mem.gov.ma/en/Pages/secteur.aspx?e=2)
The IEA has identified this need among African countries whose initial responses to climate change policies were directed towards electricity production from renewables- but to go much further towards decarbonisation of the economy, other energy outputs are required in transportation and buildings.
For more details on Morocco’s energy policies, see (https://www.iea.org/countries/Morocco)
Morocco is a portal into other African nations, with a highly developed network of relationships with countries on the continent. Morocco therefore is inviting several of these to participate with the aim of sharing and developing experiences together.
Participating in this conference therefore provides the opportunity of dialogue with institutions and businesses across Africa.
Countries invited to attend include: Kenya, Rwanda, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Ghana, South Africa, Ethiopia, Senegal, Nigeria, to share their experiences and help develop synergies with each other in the context of south-south collaboration.
Who should participate?
This conference aims at practitioners, energy sector policy makers, operators, industries and local authorities, farming community representatives, waste management operators, biogas and biomass industries supplying equipment and building plants, consultants, academics and energy users.
First Day: March 16, 2020
9.30 – 10.30:
Welcome and introduction
HE Aziz Rabbah
Minister of Energy for the Kingdom of Morocco
Research into bioenergy in Africa
Professor Hassan El Bari, Ibn Tofail University, Morocco
Policies and the climate change landscape
David Newman, President World Biogas Association
Development and potential of bioenergy globally and in Africa
Remigijus Lapinskas, President World Bioenergy Association
Coffee Break 10.30-11.00
11.00 – 13.00: plenary session
Morocco’s renewable energy programmes to meet the Paris Climate targets
Hicham Bouzekri, Masen , Morocco
Experiences from the invited nations
Lunch break 13.00-14.00
Topic 1: State of the art in Biomass and Biogas technologies (Anaerobic Digestion technologies, Biomass combustion technologies, pyrolysis)
Topic 2: Biomass and Power generation (co-firing technologies, renewable fuels)
Speakers: from guest countries and members of World Biogas and World Bioenergy Associations.
17.30-18.30 networking cocktail and one-to-one meetings among all participants
Second Day: March 17th
Topic 3: Biogas and waste-to-energy (biofuels)
Topic 4: Biogas/Biomass project financing and structuring
Speakers: from guest countries and World Biogas and Bioenergy Associations
Topic 5: 14.00-17.00 The research landscape- what we still need to know.
Chair Professor Hassan El Bari, Morocco
Speakers from guest countries and invited research institutes
17.00 Conclusions: World Biogas Association/World Bioenergy Association
17.30-18.30 networking and one-to-one meetings among all participants
The Kingdom of Morocco will provide accommodation upon request for invited nation guests and key-note speakers. All other participants are kindly invited to book their own accommodation.
- Cost of Participation
Participation in the conference and its social programme is free for guests from invited nations and those speakers invited by the Kingdom of Morocco.
Participation in the conference proceedings only is free for delegates from non-OECD countries (excludes the dinner on Day 1).
Participation in the conference and its social programme for OECD country delegates is €200 per person.
All delegates receive coffee and lunch.
Registration: click here
- All proceedings will take place in the English language.
- If you wish to speak and present at the conference please send your one page abstract for consideration to the organizing committee to
Professor Hassan EL BARI email: email@example.com