Project Trip October 2010

Wind Energy For Debo/Ethiopia 4th October - 17th October 2010


  • Dipl. - Eng. Wolde Giorgis Demissie (project leader)
  • Pfr. Dr. Jochen Hahn (Project Manager)
  • Angelika Hahn (Volenteer)

Arrangement of the report:

  1. Starting position.
  2. Destination of the trip 2010.
  3. Results and out come.
    1. The wind power installation in Debo.
    2. The electro station (Transformer house) with accumulator storage. Journey to solve the accumulator problem.
    3. The village illumination.
    4. The expansion of the installation through private house holds.
    5. Creating financial reserves - an important step for the long term plan.
  4. Energy quantity generated and yearly energy consumption in Debo.
  5. Search for a foreign aid organization.
  6. Comment: The Handcraft in Ethiopia (sill) doesn't have any golden ground.

1. Starting position

The Solar-Wind energy system in Debo has been running since February 2008. In February 2008, the wind power installation was supplemented with a solar installation and in October 2009 the sail blade turbine was replaced by a gearless three bladed turbine. In this move, the traditional rotary powered Inverter was dismantled and was replaced with an electronically regulated inverter (simple welding inverter). The installed DC-AC-Inverter (sine-similar tension description, 2, 5 Kw) was also replaced with a more efficient DC-AC-Sinus-Inverter (4Kw) in order to make the running of motors, chargers and computers more compatible. In the hospital, an electric water pump was installed (see the result reports 2008 and 2009.) Past experience showed that motors with sine motor and re-charger characteristics become very hot and therefore cut out. It is not a good idea to save money on an inverter. Through an unhappy circumstance, the new inverter was defect in January 2010. Small protection strips of sheet metal, which we had put as a precaution into the Main switch box, had apparently been pulled upward to the conductor plate through electromagnetic strengths, where they generated a short. This was annoying, and, the export cost to Germany, the repair and the re-importation to Ethiopia cost much time, strength and money (and of course customs tax). Looking on the bright side: the defective inverter was exchanged and replaced single handed by the semi-skilled trained technicians in Debo. So after a short intermission light was burning again in Debo!

Because of previous negative experiences with the build-up of a Financial reserve, the Electricity commission had been asked, in 2009, to make an accurate measurement of the total electricity consumption in the hospital and with the additional connections to private house holds (through electricity sales), form a financial reserve. Furthermore, the technicians had also received the order, to make the street lamps water and rain proof from above. Now the real excitement was to find out what had really been accomplished in 2010.

2. Goals of the trip 2010

The trip 2010 was intended,

  1. as an inspection, to be performed in Debo, and
  2. To create a contact with a foreign aid company, that can take over the project once and for all and guide it into their own perspective. This is where a correspondence with the Lutheran world association in Addis Abeba had developed.

3. Results and outcome.

3. 1. The wind power installation in Debo

The wind power installation works without problems. A sparrow's nest had to be extracted from the machine head in order to guarantee the cooling of the generator. The technicians probably didn't see any problem in it… A much too thin lead cover plate on the Turbine mast had been pulled off and to the annoyance of the technicians the cables had been played with by children. Although the technicians have the necessary tools, unfortunately they could not decide on a substitute replacement sheet metal. Also the protection fence around the wind turbine showed gaps (hence the children). The order was given by us for cover plate replacement and fence repair.

3. 2. The electro station (Transformer house) with accumulator storage

The small building situated in the monastery (clay construction with corrugated iron roof) - apart from the innumerable existence of fleas - was in order. The solar installation works perfectly. The Backup diesel generator works as well. This can in the instance of a power shortage, over the electrical inverter, be used to recharge batteries and simultaneously provide the village with power.

We exchanged the smaller electrical inverter for the bigger Sine power electrical inverter. Additionally as a test, we have exchanged two parallel aligned welding inverters (to serve as electronic Transformers), against an individual one, that starts already with 65 V Turbine,-AC to load the accumulators on the direct current side, an extraordinarily effective and affordable alternative to a professional (and much more expensive), wind energy system. The 10 lead accumulators (gel solar accumulators "Everbright") still work, however they are obviously losing alot of their capacity. Unfortunately, we could not test this exactly. When they were new they had a capacity of approximately 15 kHz. Now, they seem to be able to store exactly the half. That is unfortunate, as much generated energy gets lost through this. In good wind and good sun, they are already fully loaded after midday. All the further energy won is only partly used. Through the night, the wind power installation has an important part in producing energy for the high demand period.

Excursion about the accumulator problem:

The energy storage system with lead accumulators probably remains the main weak point inh in dividual energy systems, solar or wind. Even good brand accumulators (solar gel accumulators) won't hold longer than 5-6 years through the high number of revolutions. Exempt from the high expenditure, a lot of toxic waste remains in the country, which is not expertly detoxified. This cannot be the permanent solution. A real solution would be the introduction of the nickel ferric accumulator, that unfortunately is not so popular and through the production, less costs more. (see. "Nickel ferric accumulator" under Wikipedia).

Its advantages: Similar energy density like motor vehicle accumulators, no lead included but merely nickel and ferric components with potash lye; no memory effect; the accumulator is absolutely insensitive to the feared deep discharge; Its lifespan can amount to 20 years without further a do, (there should be accumulators of this type that still work after 100 years). Its disadvantages: The accumulator works badly under 0°C and has a higher self discharge instalment than lead accumulators. Both admittedly do not play a great role in Africa and in the function as short term storage.

For island energy systems, there is only one possibility: the re-introduction of the nickel ferric accumulator. However who produces these on a larger scale (besides Chinese companies)? Would a production location in Africa not be meaningful, where many energy storage systems are required and are installed?

3. 3. The village illumination

In 2008, under their own management the technicians installed street lighting around the market and along the outgoing streets, which in principle still work. Unfortunately, the cables were "typically Ethiopian" laid in singular veins and with out insolating wire connections. Nothing is protected against rainwater. The streetlamps were not sealed against rainwater. Not only this but also the swaying in very strong wind, as well as stone-throwing children, the E-saving lamps brake repeatedly. The plentiful lamp reserves obtained through us were depleted. Unfortunately, the technicians didn't have the idea to hang the lamps higher or to seal them against rainwater. Here, we must consider a streetlamp construction, that is simple, rain-proof and at the same time stone proof, (if necessary plastic water bottle as protection).

3. 4. The expansion of the installation through private house holds.

In 2009 the technicians could additionally equip 22 private house holds each with one light fitting and a socket. Now the following objects are supplied with electricity in Debo:

  • Street lighting: 14 street Lamps
  • Private houses: 22 with light lamps and one socket each
  • Workshop: 1 light lamp, small appliances,
  • Police, administration buildings, approximately 6 light lamps
  • Hospital (Health centre): approximately 40 light lamps, Sockets; Water pump; Computer.
  • Agriculture station: 2 light lamps, socket,
  • School (assembly room, director): 4 light lamps, 2 sockets, Computer
  • Monestery church with individual buildings: 19 light lamps; individual sockets
  • Electro house: 2 light lamps and sockets

Attached to this are approximately 110 light lamps, individual small appliances, PCs and water pump. With accumulators at full capacity and sufficient energy production through wind and solar power another extension is something to be considered. The electrical inverter is designed for much higher performances. With the present capacity of the accumulator storage however, only a restricted extension would be of any purpose.

3. 5. Creating financial reserves - an important step for the long term plan.

From 2008 to 2009, it was not possible for the technicians and the electricity commission to form a financial reserve from electricity sales (electric metres in the hospital and in the school; Re-charging service for accumulator lamps and other appliances). The payment of the electricity through the hospital was in 2009 due to "presentation of an inadequately authorized receipt from the commune" was not rejected.

In 2009, we then developed a new concept together with the electricity commission for the finance plans, (more extensively talked about in the result report 2009 under 5.2. "re-financing, first draft and workshop"). This intends to gain a certain finance influx through the consultation of private customers over lump-sum reimbursements. All revenues from the electricity sales (private houses), hospital, school, re-charging service), should be apportioned as wages for the technicians and on the other hand as a maintenance fund reserve to maintain the installation.

2010 yields the following picture:

The treasurer of the electricity commission could show a reserve of 1.700 Birr,(currently 75,00 Euro). This fact is to be regarded as an important advance, it's the first time there have been actual funds that light bulbs, diesel and other replacement articles can be paid for with. The private house holds are reliable payers. There are still problems with the hospital and school, who have the money at their disposal, but as a state run organisation that still insists on an official authorized receipt, which however, is authorized by the community, (!!). In the course of the conferral of the city rights (as town), official receipts should now be printed.

4. Generated energy quantity and yearly energy consumption in Debo

Since 2009, the village (in 290 days) used the following Energy levels: 1.186 kHz

The daily consumption is often approximately 6 kHz.

The wind energy installation generated 661 kHz.

This relatively low energy quantity results much from the low wind levels prevailing in Debo, (see: "wind circumstances"; in Debo approximately 2,5 mph. as a yearly average; 4 mph would be required in order to be able to generate 8-9 kHz per day alone from wind The rest was generated by solar from which a bulk of the energy was not usable through the capacity losses of the accumulators.

5. Search for a foreign aid organization.

According to indications from the Lutheran world association (LWB, Lutheran World Federation), that is active with puncto foreign aid in Ethiopia. in Addis Abeba we came across the Mekane Jesus church (Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Jesus), that as a member of the LWB in Ethiopia is involved in many foreign aid projects (social projects and also hydraulic power and solar projects). In the conversation had with leading personalities of the Departments "Development and Social Services Commission" great interest was shown in the area of building up a framework of a project area wind energy pilot project. Pre-requisite included are natural.!!!!!!!! The location must be windy. A location was decided at the end of October 2010 with Mekane-Yesus-Vetretern and Wolde G. Demissie, close to Hosanna (Hoseina) south of Addis Abeba, where the first wind measurements will be performed. Then our "Wind energy block" can be put into action in its newest updated form.

6. Comment

The Handcraft in Ethiopia (still) doesn't have any golden ground Patience is a virtue and has a great purpose here. To make an inspection only once a year here is really not enough. It is amazing, that the installation in Debo actually works. It would be optimal if such a project could be checked monthly, to be able to see defects and shortcomings and to make amends quickly.

We keep coming up against the same problem: The handiwork is strongly underdeveloped in Ethiopia, also not well accepted at the moment. On one side, if you want a job done well, do it yourself. Our technicians that are interested in small services get a sense of this. The handwork and skills in the countryside (cottage construction, clay preparation, production of a simple hook plough, carving of a wood shovel, production of a natural-grown pitchfork….) can practically be acquired by anyone. Weaving seems to be traditionally developed, cotton materials for traditional dress and scarves, and the tailor shop. The Cartwright and Blacksmith crafts are apparent in rural areas on a very simple level. Only a few traditional tools were used, the carpenter in Debo possessed a hammer, a hatchet, a wedge to the split wood, a sledge hammer, a piece of knotted measuring string, tape measure and recently a saw. He had never come face to face with the simplest of wooden frames such as a hinged window, also no wooden door or frameworks fitted with a door jam, as we constructed in the E-House. On this occasion the Ethiopian Orthodox Church pays a not so unproblematic roll puncto in relation to the development of handcraft Ethiopia. For Centuries it has been told from the Old testament Credo: Successful life is when, old remains unchanged and traditions are pasted unchanged through the generations. Through this the Handcraft in Ethiopia has never really found golden ground.

This Preaching admittedly has two faces: On one side: The unique Ethiopian culture could be protected by it, for a long time, despite modern influences. On the other, this (Handcraft -) culture has no personal qualities to add to and protect itself from invading Industrial culture (usually Asian). This could have an ominous effect on the original culture of Ethiopia in future. The development of independent trade is therefore urgently necessary in Ethiopia. The project "wind energy for Ethiopia" has exactly this aspect in mind. The absolutely practical solar modules can only be imported. Crafts persons such as metal workers, electrical engineers, plastic engineers could produce our wind strength system to a large extent in the country themselves.



Pfr. Dr. J. Hahn

Am Pfarrberg 8

D-01623 Rüsseina


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