Chapter 16
Wood Waste Cogeneration in Kumasi, Ghana
Dominic Derzu, Henry Mensah-Brown and Abeeku Brew-Hammond
The demand for power has increased significantly in Ghana over the years, resulting
in an annual power supply crisis since 1983. Thus the country has had increasing
difficulties in meeting the demand of domestic and industrial consumers, and export
commitments to neighboring countries. In fact, Ghana used to be a net exporter of
electricity but this situation has changed and the country is now a net importer of
power from la Coˆ te d’Ivoire. Hence there is an urgent need to look for alternative
sources to widen the power generation mix in the country, while also improving the
reliability of supply.
The hydropower plants at Akosombo and Kpong, and the recently added thermal
plants at Takoradi, together with the import complements from la Coˆ te d’Ivoire,
cannot meet the power demand for various user categories. The short supply of
electricity throughout Ghana forces many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to
run expensive standby diesel generators to meet their energy requirements. The
government has decided to remove all the latent hurdles preventing private sector
involvement in the energy sector and the economy has been liberalized, resulting in
an influx of new investors.
Biomass resources from the agricultural and forestry sector s are readily available
for energy purposes along with wind and solar resources. The limiting factors for the
utilization of these energy sources include location, availabil ity and sustainability
of the resources, fuel handling and preparation, and opportunities for fuel flexibility.
In addition, the technology choice and its reliability, as well as the overall economics
of energy projects are particularly important, especially now that the tariff regime is
being reviewed towards better economic efficiency.
This chapter looks into the potential for wood waste utilization for power gene-
ration in Kumasi, Ghana. The specific conditions for utilizing wood waste from
wood-processing industries in cogeneration are presented for a project. The feasi-
bility of the project is discussed under the framework of CDM, which also includes
the boundary and baseline for the project, the carbon offsets as certified emissions
Bioenergy Realizing the Potential
ß 2005 Dr Semida Silveira
Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
reductions (CERs) expected, and the outstanding issues that need to be solved to
allow full implementation of the project. The project seeks to make use of abundant
resources currently perceived as a nuisance to the environment, while also offering
an opportunity for power generation.
The annual cut allowance of forests to the wood-processing industry is 1 million m
and the Forestry Commission is responsible to ensure compliance to this law.
However, the limit was not seriously observed until the enforcement of the ban on
chainsaw operations in the country in 2000. More than 50 per cent of the cut allow-
ance is attributed to sawmills in Kumasi, the most industrial timber city in Ghana.
In fact, of the approximately 100 sawmills established in Ghana, 67 are in the Ashanti
region, of which 65 are located in Kumasi and surroundings.
The wood waste associated wi th sawmilling activities in Ghana is of two
categories. There are forest residues (leftovers from forest cutting) and residues from
the wood-processing mills. The latter group of residues is envisaged for use in the
cogeneration project presented here. Experts of the forest and wood industry in
Ghana classify the volumes of residues from commercial wood-processing opera-
tions as shown in Tabl e 16.1. Of the different types of wood waste listed, only the
sawdust has no competitive use.
The timber industry in Ghana comprised about 134 wood-processing firms in 1996
(S-B. Atakora, 1999). It is the fourth foreign exchange earner in the country after
Table 16.1. Estimates of volume of residues from wood-processing
activities in Ghana
Type of wastes
% of the
total log input
Volume in
Off-cuts 20 200 000
Bark, slabs and edgings 20 200 000
Sawdust 15 150 000
Total 55 750 000
Source: Kumasi Wood Waste Cogeneration Feasibility Report, 2001.
214 Bioenergy Realizing the Potential

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