On the recent trip to Malawi, a meeting was held with the current MPhil students.  They explained their projects and noted any challenges they have faced or are likely to face in the future.

P1070594Christopher – Utilising waste alcohol for fuel:

This project involves using waste alcohol from an industrial plant (where Christopher works) and blending it with fuel oil in order to produce a fuel for stoves.  This project aims to use a by-product which is currently disposed of.  The main challenges of this process involve scientific research to develop the correct blend before determining the optimum stove design for using this type of fuel.

Andrew – Sustainable Finance for Micro Hydro

There is significant potential for micro-hydro developments in Malawi.  One of the key problems reducing uptake is the lack of finance.  This project will involve surveying local communities, a literature review and gaining an understanding of the unique factors involved in micro hydro developments.  This will hopefully determine the best way for sustainable finance to be used in future developments.

Precious – Public Private Partnerships for Micro Hydro

This project also looks at finance for micro hydro with a specific focus on the use of public private partnerships.  The current situation means projects are usually solely funded by either the Malawian Government or Donors.  It is hoped that in the future donors and government can work together to make projects happen more effectively.

Daniel – Rural Biogas

This project involves the design of a portable biogas digester which can be moved around various communities without the expense of a fixed digester.   To see an interview with Daniel please see the following blog post: Rural Biogas

Charles – Low Cost Biogas Digester using Recycled oil Drums

This project is another low cost biogas digester, this time using recycled 200l oil drums, widely available in Malawi.  Research will be undertaken in all aspects of design including calculating likely gas output and quality as well as determining the type of feed used.

Moses – Solar PV in Rural Areas

This project looks at the commercial, procurement and business related issues with regards to delivering solar PV installations in rural areas.  The works focuses on SMEs and will study existing projects.  It is hoped that the work will feed into new upcoming projects in Malawi delivering a more effective and efficient supply chain across the country.  Finding evidence has so far proved difficult.

Osbourne – Climate Change and Impact on Micro Hydro

The project will use data from the MET office to determine the future prospects of micro hydro in Malawi as the rains shift due to climate change.  In addition the change in runoff and siltation will be modeled based on forecasted future weather patterns.

Collins – Profile and Analysis of CSPV Offgrid Systems in Malawi

This project will look at the problems and challenges with mass community solar PV applications in Malawi.  This will include a study of the following:

  • Supply chain in Malawi
  • Government policies affecting energy
  • The regulatory framework and how this affects solar PV developments
  • Scalability
  • Social issues

Collins has already found it a challenge to find information, particularly that which is commercially sensitive.