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The Durban University of Technology (DUT) and the eThekwini Municipality are part of 29 international partners across Europe and Africa, which were awarded a five-year European Union (EU) grant under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme.

The project which is tagged: Renewable energies for Africa: Effective valorisation of agri-food wastes (REFFECT AFRICA: November 2021 – November 2026), will use a biomass gasification technology (demonstrator) to generate renewable energy sources from agri-food wastes. This project will not only make a significant impact on reducing the tonnes of waste that is sent to landfill but also provide energy solutions for on-grid and off-grid communities and integrate these energy sources into the existing energy system,” she said.

The main objectives of the REFFECT AFRICA project will be to define, validate and demonstrate a successful biomass valorisation technology for the production of energy and biochar in three African countries namely:

  • An urban application at Clairwood Bulk Market, a large-supply market connected on-grid in the eThekwini Municipality, which belongs to the city of Durban in South Africa.
  • A rural off-grid application in the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba District Assembly, at a school compound, which includes a small medical clinic, in Ghana.
  • An on-grid application at a food industry, at the premises of the olive oil mill Dar Azzaytoune, in Douar El Hachia, Morocco.

The project is charged to enhance environmental and societal sustainability in a transformative way, through the use of innovative solutions for waste management and the generation of renewable energy sources.

The project also aligns with DUT’s ENVISION2030 agenda as it has a bearing on the four perspectives of stewardship, systems and processes, sustainability and society,” she relayed.

The kick-off meeting for the REFFECT AFRICA project was held in Spain, from 17 to 18 November, 2021. The meeting was attended physically by the eThekwini team and virtually by the DVC: Research, Innovation and Engagement, Professor Sibusiso Moyo and Director: Research and Postgraduate Support, Dr Linda Linganiso on behalf of the DUT. Some of the deliverables of the five-year project include: eight dissemination workshops in Ghana, Morocco, South Africa and two in Europe, six expansion workshops in Tunisia, Egypt, Nigeria, Uganda, Mozambique, Namibia/Botswana, at least three business opportunities from agri-food waste valorisation, mid-term and final conferences in Sawla, Ghana and Durban, South Africa.

Prof Sibusiso Moyo acknowledges the eThekwini team led by Dr Sandile Mbatha for choosing DUT as a strategic partner. The technical team will be led by Prof Ian Lazarus (HOD: Physics Department and the Manager of the KZN Energy Efficient Training and Resource Centre) and Prof Sudesh Rathilal (Deputy Dean: Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment). Dr Abosede Ijabadeniyi (Research Associate: Research and Postgraduate Support) will be managing the project and liaison with the REFFECT team and partners involved in the project.

“We look forward to the participation of students and staff working in this area,” said Prof Moyo.

For more information about the project, contact Dr Abosede Ijabadeniyi (

Pictured: (from left to right): DUT and the eThekwini Municipality staff who were at the proposed site of the demonstrator in December 2021, at the Clairwood Bulk Market in Durban: Dr Abosede Ijabadeniyi, Mr Emmanuel Tetteh, Prof Sudesh Rathilal, Mr Jason Moonsamy, Ms Nevana Srikissoon and Ms Sibonisiwe Chonco.

Story supplied by: Dr Abosede Ijabadeniyi (REFFECT AFRICA-Project Manager).

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