Progress, challenges and the next steps

First face-to-face meeting of the BIO4Africa partners in Uganda

BIO4Africa partners from Africa and Europe had their first opportunity to meet face-to-face at the third project meeting hosted by Kabarole Research and Resource Centre (KRC) in Uganda. A total of 23 partner representatives travelled to Fort Portal for the three-day event, while another 34 attended via live streaming.

After 16 months of work, the objective was to discuss all aspects of the project and progress made – plus the risk of any delays or deviations in the project’s next phase.

Tour of the biorefinery
The first point on the agenda, however, was a visit to the green biorefinery installed by KRC and Grassa at the Fort Portal test site. Using local grass to produce protein concentrate and press cake for animal feed, the biorefinery aims to benefit crop and livestock farmers. (Watch our biorefinery videos).

The guided tour also included a trip to the farmers who deliver grass for the refinery and use the protein concentrate to feed egg-laying chickens.

At the BIO4Africa sites in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire, preparations are underway for the launch of pilot trials with pyrolysis technology from Brazil. A Brazilian technician will visit the sites in early 2023 to train local partners in how to use the technology and oversee building of the pilot plants. Representatives from the Ghana sites will also attend.

Tackling challenges
During the project meeting, the partners drew attention to the global rise in inflation and energy costs and longer delivery times driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and war in Ukraine. These issues are having an inevitable impact on activities, requiring some adjustment to the initial work plan.

Other challenges are of a more technical nature. For example, when a chosen feedstock does not work well in pelletising and briquetting, work is ongoing to adapt the operating conditions.

What’s coming up
Tasks that lie ahead include the monitoring and assessment of technology transfer activities at the pilot sites and the development of sustainable business models to ensure the technologies’ full-scale commercial deployment. Business accelerator activities and awareness raising campaigns will support implementation in rural communities.