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Life Cycle Engineering in Ghana

The Laboratory for Sustainability in technology is researching and piloting sustainable mobility concepts for sub-Saharan Africa in the “Mobility thought through the lifecycle (MoNaL)” project. Within the framework of “Exportinitative Umwelttechnologien“ the project and its measures, funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV), are realized in Ghana, whereby the findings are adaptable for the whole region. Scientific findings arising from the pilot project and research have been presented at the 29th CIRP Conference on Life Cycle Engineering held in Leuven, Belgium.

LCE2022 was the 29th edition of the global conference series on Life Cycle Engineering organized under the auspices of the International Academy of Production Engineering CIRP. Experts from industry and academia met to discuss how to improve sustainability throughout all phases of the life cycle. Targeted application areas comprise, amongst others, manufacturing, electronics, energy systems, transport and mobility, healthcare systems. An overview of published papers are presented below.

Three papers related to e-mobility in Ghana were presented:

The first paper was presented by the author Fred Adjei and addressed the factors that influence social acceptance and the potential socio-economic impact of electric micromobility in Ghana. Using the methodology of the triangular approach to social acceptance, which includes the acceptance subject, acceptance object and acceptance context, transport behaviour and social values were investigated via a questionnaire. It was found that factors such as safety, purchase cost, environmental impact and others were significant contributors to the social acceptance of e-mobility devices, and factors such as price, time saving, variety of mobility devices and others were also found to be significant influencing factors. In addition, a high demand for e-mopeds emerged, as most participants already use a motorbike. The further results can be found here: Electrically powered micro mobility vehicles in Ghana: transition process with focus on social acceptance, The presentation you can finde here.

The second paper by Ann-Kathrin Stinder, presented by Nora Schelte, focused on the electricity supply in Ghana, which is also a prerequisite for e-mobility. Since a significant proportion of the population has no access to electricity, solar mini-grids were investigated as a solution. They can meet the growing energy demand and provide environmentally friendly access to energy in remote regions. Based on the case study Don Bosco Mini Grid in Tema, optimisation potentials were analysed using a generic Excel-based LCA model. All further information can be found here: A generic GHG-LCA model of a smart mini grid for decision making using the example of the Don Bosco mini grid in Tema, Ghana, Presentation here.

The last paper presented by Jaron Schünemann included a life cycle assessment of e-cargo bikes for urban freight transport in Ghana. Electrified cargo bikes are considered a space-saving and environmentally friendly alternative for the delivery of parcels, food and other goods. It was shown that greenhouse gas emissions over the life cycle are significantly lower when the batteries are powered by solar energy. The inclusion of solar-powered e-load bikes in the modal split of freight transport in the Accra region would lead to greenhouse gas emission savings of 4-8%. You can read the background here: Life Cycle Assessment on Electric Cargo Bikes for the Use-Case of Urban Freight Transportation in Ghana,  For the presentation click here.

The conference offered an exceptionally productive exchange on the latest developments within research on sustainable technology solutions, with interesting presentations and many opportunities to exchange ideas and insights at a high professional level. The quality of the contributions combined with an excellent cultural side programme made the conference a wonderful experience for all three participants.