The University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) has partnered with other institutions to pilot an electronic motorcycle, which will be powered by solar-generated energy.
The E-bikes to be fitted with meters, using renewable energy, will be charged at designated charging stations at the University.
The project is estimated to cost some $357,000 and will be funded by the German government.
The Bochum University of Applied Science and Don Bosco, are the main partners in the project.
The project is aimed at reducing climate change and carbon emissions by looking at the use of renewable energy in the transportation sector.
In view of this, a memorandum of understanding between UENR and Bochum University of Applied Science in Germany has been signed during a kick-off workshop organized by the partners in Sunyani.
Ing. Dr Eric Antwi Ofosu, Director, Regional Centre for Energy and Environmental Sustainability, said, having launched the project and agreements signed, they will do the installation of the charging systems.
According to him, the bikes will be brought down for the 3-year project to begin in 2021.
He said UENR is doing the piloting and research study to see how sustainable it will be.
“We look at our road designs and provide opportunities for motorcycle lanes, then we can project such a project. And our abundant solar energy becomes useful in our transport sector. Fuel prices continue to increase, and if we can resort to solar energy, then it will be good since that is what UENR is all about where we can use energy in a sustainable manner across all sectors”, he said.
Ing. Dr. Antwi Ofosu, who is also a Senior lecturer at the Department of Energy and Environmental Engineering at UENR, explained, “We have Don Bosco in Tema as a partner, who has a charging system. There will be one charging system also at the UENR so that people can come and charge the bike. The bike will have a meter that will show how much energy is available at all times. We will put a few E-motorbikes across town where people will pay something for it and be able to drive it across town”.
The Vice-chancellor of UENR, Prof. Elvis Asare-Bediako, said, the project is also aimed at providing reliable and clean energy to satisfy SDG 7.
He noted, that it will also help the University to produce more solar energy to power the E-motorcycles, especially when the students are on holidays.
Again, the excess energy could be channeled into other sectors of the University or sold to the public to help generate funds for more research study to boost the image of the University and the project could be scaled to other Universities thereby making UENR and Don Bosco a center of excellence.
He further said, the project will reduce the energy demand on the national grid and cut down costs while the bikes will improve the movement of students and staff within the University, as it will be cost-effective.
He, therefore, appealed to the government through the Ministry of Transport to support the project to boost renewable energy production and its usage to meet the vision of setting up UENR.
On her part, the Bono Regional Minister, Justina Owusu Banahene, noted that the government’s plan to increase renewable energy mix by 2030 is still on course and commended UENR for having about 90% of their street lights using solar energy while challenging them to expand it beyond the university.
The Minister pledged the support of the Bono Regional Coordinating Council to the implementation of the MoNaL project in the region.