from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWE’S largest tea producer has turned to self-sufficient energy systems to maintain operations in a country beset by insufficient power supplies.
Tanganda Tea Company Limited, which is also one of the largest producers of the crop in Africa, uses its own microgrids at Tingamira and Jersey sites for secure and environmentally-friendly energy supply.
The system consists of a megawatt-class solar plant, a lithium-ion energy storage system, and three diesel generators.
It was implemented by DHYBRID and its partner, South African renewable energy specialists, Blockpower.
In addition to tea and coffee, avocados, and macadamia nuts are grown on site.
“Sustainable production across the value chain is becoming increasingly important for companies like Tanganda,” said Tom Fricke, Head of Energy Storage at DHYBRID.
He said this included a climate-friendly and reliable energy supply.
“Solar hybrid systems are an ideal solution for this. They minimise CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions and reduce operating costs at the same time,” Fricke explained.
The region in eastern Zimbabwe where Tanganda operates is remote and difficult to reach.
It is anticipated that by reducing diesel consumption and high transport costs, the investment in the new technology would pay for itself within three to four years.
Compared to the previous energy supply, which relied on diesel generators and the unstable public power grid, CO2 emissions are reduced up to 6 000 tons per year.
DHYBRID’s energy management system, the Universal Power Platform (UPP) controls all major components: the 2.6 MWp PV system, a lithium-ion storage system with 980 kWh capacity and an output of 1,000 kW as well as several diesel generators used for back-up supply.
“Here in Africa, we often have to deal with very heterogeneous energy systems that are moreover growing gradually. For this, we need a technology-open and very flexible energy management system,” said Kyle Bohnsack, Director of Blockpower.
DHYBRID will showcase the Tanganda project at EM-Power in Munich, Germany from October 6-8.
– CAJ News