What are the SESA Living Labs?

Jun 16, 2022

The SESA project involves a modular living lab demonstration action in Kenya, 4 validation demonstration projects in Morocco, Ghana, Malawi, and South Africa; and 4 replication demonstration projects in Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Nigeria. SESA draws upon thematic experts from Europe and Africa from relevant fields of application to provide insights and guidance to the support co-development of the living labs.

Each site has an implementation plan, the guiding roadmap for the living lab to achieve its sustainability goals. The plans describe the context needs and innovative energy solutions activities across the identified thematic areas in the different locations. The identified thematic areas include:

  • Solar energy: Kenya (test), Ghana (validation), South Africa (validation), Morocco (validation), Namibia (replication), Tanzania (replication), Nigeria (replication), Rwanda (replication).
  • Clean cooking/ Waste to energy (Biogas for cooking): Ghana (validation), Malawi (validation), Rwanda (replication).
  • Second life EV (Li-ion batteries) batteries: Kenya (test), South Africa (validation),Morocco (validation).

The highly skilled experts, that are part of the project consortium and are involved in the development of the implementation plans, will share their specific experience and provide technical advice related to feasibility, costs and benefits, and monitoring for good performance over the project lifetime. Experts will also support replicability of innovative measures. The direct involvement of international networks and initiatives will ensure a high level of visibility and replication for the innovations tested in this project. A brief summary of the actions from SESA first phase follows:

Kenya: The demonstration implementation activities will be carried out at two project sites, Kisegi, a rural village in Homa Bay county, and Katito a peri-urban community in Kisumu County. Both demonstrations are solar charging hubs that houses PV modules, central Li-ion battery storage, and balance-of-system (BoS) to increase energy accessibility for a range of electrical needs within the local community. Learn more about the Kenya Living Lab. 

Morocco: The demonstration implementation activities will be carried out in urban location in Marrakech and low socioeconomic rural region currently without access to grid electricity. The urban demonstrator will make 40 electric motorcycles available for use by female students. The rural demonstrator will install 10 mini grids with Li-ion battery storage for use by families in remote and energy impoverished locations.

Ghana: The demonstration implementation activities are located in the Ga North Municipal district, which is an urban settlement, and Atwima Nwabiagya Municipal Assembly, which is a rural community. The innovation tested is biogas cooking systems to improve the knowledge, skills, trust and capacity of stakeholders in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of this clean, cheap cooking technology. Fuel will be sourced from waste feedstocks.

Malawi: The living lab is located in Mchinji district, Traditional Authority Mawvere. It will provide affordable and reliable energy in one of the most energy impoverished parts of Africa where only 13.4% of the population are connected to the national electrical grid. The innovation implementation activities will involve a portable cooker, which will be fueled from compressed briquets of residual agricultural byproducts. The design will both reduce smoke emissions and provide by beneficial bio char as a waste byproduct for use in agriculture.

South Africa: The demonstration implementation activities are located in the Eastern Cape township of Alicedale and the semi-rural area KwaNonzwakazi on the outskirts of Alicedale. The demonstration innovation will include electric vehicle batteries and stationary storage applications, the demonstration will include the provision of infospots for Internet access. The off-grid community energy hubs will support a range of local community activities.

To support co-development of solutions, capacity building, funding and financing regional platforms are set up. Regional platforms will help organise regional teams and support partners coordinate with other relevant regional projects to maximise the potential for take-up and replication of the energy innovations tested in this project (ELICO, Leitat, RISE, UN-Habitat, UNEP, UEMI). A common implementation methodology will be developed, with the lead-partners for all regional teams (Europe, Africa). This forms the basis of detailed implementation plans, which include all the activities needed for preparation and execution of the demo, technical and operations issues, business model adaptation, stakeholder engagement and replication (Siemens, Green Energy Park, University of Rwanda, Going Green, Stockholm Environmental Institute).

The regional platforms and implementation teams are working closely with the capacity building team to support the training activities for the Living Labs and share their experiences with others to replicate innovation actions. The plans will be continually updated with input from project partners, so keep in tune for more information on the developments of the SESA Living Labs.