Modelling and Assessment of Renewable Energy Systems for Remote Rural Areas in Nigeria

  • Christian Akaraka Onwe

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Energy production over the years has depended largely on carbon-dense fossil fuels, and these reserves are depleting. Carbon per se is associated with pollution and one of the consequences of over-dependence on this for energy is the observed environmental imbalance causing climate change. There are opportunities to address this situation through widespread adoption of renewable energy (RE), which is a largely environmentally benign means of energy production. Though it has its limitations, RE systems are developing rapidly to tackle these energy and environment issues head-on. RE systems, especially those involving solar and wind energy, depend strongly on weather conditions, and as such they can produce highly variable power outputs. However, due to the limitations, it is crucial that at early RE design stages, that a proper prior study is done to estimate the energy characteristics of the system for the selected location. To do this, it is possible to utilise a computer model and or data monitoring processes. In this research, two RE monitoring and data collection processes have been carried out. From the monitored data, the dynamic system performance characteristics were analysed. A software tool (SOHYSIMO) that can be utilised to simulate, size and estimate the energy performances of a solar-hydrogen system was developed, and this integrated a new approach for calculating the operating and maintenance costs of the system over the lifetime of the project. During abundance solar resource, overproduction usually occurs and the excess energy can be utilised to produce hydrogen as an energy storage medium, which can subsequently produce electricity through a fuel cell or H2 Genset. Alternatively (or additionally) this hydrogen can be efficiently used to meet a cooking demand. For this reason, and unlike other models, the developed software tool integrates a novel loading which goes beyond the realm of electrical load and includes a hydrogen cooking load facility, as an efficient means of utilising the hydrogen produced, and as a means for displacing current unsustainable fuels such as firewood and kerosene. SOHYSIMO has been validated using two relevant and widely used tools, HOMER and iHOGA. A typical village in Nigeria was selected as case study to evaluate the solarhydrogen cooking. The idea of utilising a DC micro-grid system instead of the prevalent AC type was also investigated, and the technical challenges inherent in AC grids in an existing RE system with an AC micro-grid network was assessed, and DC micro-grids appear to present a significant opportunity for efficient future renewable power system integration.
    Date of Award2017
    Original languageEnglish
    SponsorsEbonyi State Government
    SupervisorDavid Rodley (Supervisor) & Stephen Reynolds (Supervisor)

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