Energy from Waste Plant in Mzuzu

Alt Title: WHY WE NEED A WASTE TO ENERGY POWER PLANT IN MALAWI

An example: Reppie waste to energy plant in Ethiopia is expected to produce 50 MWs

In 1870s electricity was on many people’s minds. It was used for magic tricks by creating sparks and shocks. In the West, one of the people who was captivated by electricity was Benjamin Franklin. He wanted to know more about electricity; he ended up noting similarities between the two lighting and electricity. In fact he showed that lighting is a form of electricity.

Later, more and more people saw the power of electricity. Nicola Tesla invented the alternating current (AC) which has since had a huge impact on the world. People like Thomas Edison also contributed greatly to the sector of electricity; Edison invented the light bulb as well as direct current. Ever since the discovery of alternating current (AC), electricity has been a basic need and we can’t live without electricity. To highlight the importance of electricity, in the US, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued an Executive Order in 1936 called Rural Electrification Act which provided federal loans for the installation of electrical distribution systems to serve isolated rural areas of the United States. By 1959, 90% of farm houses had been electrified, compared to only three percent in the 1930’s.
Electricity has simplified life and created a lot of possibilities in people’s lives. It has also enabled different industries that cannot survive without electricity. While the usefulness of electricity is nearly indisputable, questions remain about how best to produce electricity. Scientists all over the world are looking for different alternatives on how we can produce electricity in a cheaper way without or with little pollution for tour environment.

Now, on to Africa, where KCHKNA is into electricity generation. Among the many challenges we see Africa famous for, two stand out: lack of access to sufficient energy and a lack of proper waste management systems. The World Bank declared that 32 nations on the continent are in energy crisis. Energy in Africa is a much scarcer commodity than in the developed world, with more than 500 million people living without electricity.    

Malawi is one of the countries that are in energy crisis. Malawi is estimated to have a population of over 18 million and, according to the World Bank, only 11% of the population have access to electricity. This means only 1, 980, 000 people have access to electricity and the rest 16, 020, 000 have no access to electricity. This is like the developed world back in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s!

Mzuzu city, Malawi: growing,but powerless

Since the invention of electricity–or rather, it being used for more than magic tricks and small experiments, there have been a lot of innovations both in production as well as in distribution and management of the energy. One interesting way to produce electricity is to use waste, a byproduct of human activities. This is a readily available fuel that does not need to be minted, or bought! With the growing of cities in Malawi the lack of waste management systems has led to this potential energy literally going to waste. 

How it works

One way to recover energy from waste

A waste energy plant converts waste into electricity. One way is to directly burn the waste. The heat created is used to make steam which in turn drives a steam turbine. The turbine is connected to a generator, and through some natural laws, that generates electricity. To borrow a phrase, this is killing two birds with one stone: we can create livable cities by eliminating waste and producing energy!

These ideas are not new. From Singapore  to Ethiopia, these ideas have been implemented around the world. We are bringing this to Malawi. 

Malawi needs a waste to energy plant to solve these two problems. In Malawian cities there is a problem of waste; and, it is estimated that an average individual lives a minimum of six hours without electricity. And that is in the city! To state the obvious, this is affecting a lot of businesses and thus the economy of the country. The modern economy depends on electricity; for example, you cannot go digital on a large scale without electricity neither can factories keep running. 

By the way, it is somewhat a misnomer that we call it “waste to energy” plant; it is an energy to energy plant, because waste is just energy in another form. All we’re doing is converting one form of energy into another, just like solar cells convert light energy into electrical energy. In our case though, the energy source is ever-present.

The Team

We are a young team, but obviously youngness is meaningless without a vision. So herewith the visionaries behind KCHKNA.

Chancy Ng’oma

We believe in a culture of freedom, respect and collaboration, where each worker enjoys being with KCHKNA without feeling inferior because of some assigned title. We know that having titles like “Chief” does not make one a leader. While for the convenience of those outside KCHKNA we may call Chancy the Chief Operations Officer, inside he is just one passionate ninja doing his best to ensure operational seamlessness across the organization. He is responsible for the “strategy”, though obviously we don’t use that term.

Patson Lungu

Patson is behind the nitty-gritty of how KCHKNA interacts with clients, partners and the community. If he were in another organization they would call him the Chief Admin Officer, but inside he is a hunter; hunting for top engineers, mutually-beneficial partnerships, and other opportunities for KCHKNA to exploit.



Christopher Luwanga

Christopher can be thought of as a technology curator. He is on the lookout for “technology modules” from around the world that can be imported into the KCHKNA application structure. He then works with the team to find the means to get these modules implemented wherever KCHKNA needs to deliver!

Tech, Inc.

What is technology?
Imagine a pen and a piece of paper. In their absence you can only do so much mental arithmetic. But with just a pen and paper, and the right mathematical knowledge, you can abstractly manipulate a lot of numbers. If those numbers have a physical meaning, you could in fact be manipulating or studying an object from such an abstract level!
In this case we have the pen, the paper, and the mathematics as technologies! Technology can consist of a physical thing such as a pen and paper system, or could be more abstract such as mathematics and human language.

What a piece of paper and a pen do is that they extend the human mind. So, does human language. These are technologies.

Technology can obviously be far more complex than pen and paper. But the goal is often the same: it is to extend human capacity in some way. We have tools today that allow us to achieve efficiencies in how we do things as well as enlarge the scope of what we do.

Introducing KCHKNA

We are going to explain what we do using a piece of software code in an infamous programming language called C#.

using UnityEngine;

What we’re saying in the above code is that we want to use a set of modules packaged in UnityEngine. Our team did not build these modules, but with one single line we have access to years of many intelligent people’s hard work. It’s incredible!

At KCHKNA we are using many technology modules developed by others. Today, more than at any other time in human history we are able to stay abreast of what other people around the world are working on. We would like to leverage this!

public class KCHKNA: Technology
 {
     public Transform switchToTarget;
     // Start is called before the first frame update
     void Start()
     {
        startEngine();
      }

We are building a suite of products whose superclass is technology. Our methods for this will change, and we are OK with this, but our mission need not. Technology is an evidently very broad term, so we will start with specific applications such as the end-to-end waste management system being developed in Mzuzu, Malawi.

// Update method is called once per frame (year?)
void Update()
{
    if (Input.GetButtonDown("Outdated"))
    {
      Transform newTarget=
           GameObject.FindWithTag("Futuristic").transform;
       GetComponent<Follow>().target = newTarget;


    }

}

Your computing device, be it a phone or computer, has what is called a frame rate. This is the number of times it draws everything on the screen. When things are drawn very often (high frame rate) our eyes (well, brain) get the impression of continuity. In fact videos that you see are simply a lot of images that are shown in rapid succession, and thus appear to show motion.
In the above code, we are getting user input at a high frame rate. The analogy for KCHKNA is that we aim to update both our methods as well as our products in the coming years in response to our users and the technology landscape.

Wheew, making analogies is tricky! But hope you get the idea.

While we are technologists we also know that the point of technology is to advance mankind. So we think both about the technicalities of the technologies we develop as well as their implications for society.