Tell us about yourself and your role in CHRISJOE Energy?
I am David Olowoloba, Managing Director of CHRISJOE Energy, Ghana; a renewable energy and clean technology provider that upcycles biomass and wastes into feedstock for power and heat (or cooling) generation.
Professionally, my background is Mechanical Engineering – specialising in Oil & Gas and Power sector and started my career into management and commercial contract formation with experience of about a decade.
Chrisjoe Energy Company’s goal is to add substantial value to the energy deficit we are having in Africa Sub Saharan region. Unlike other energy producing companies, we are extracting energy from biomass and waste.
What’s involved in the production of biomass fuel?
The actual fuel is called the feedstock which is derived from various means: woodwaste, palm kernel, coconut etc.
When valuable woods are cut down in the forestry for the wood industry, there are massive amount of residue left behind, these are good energy generating source for us.
We either convert the biomass and multi-waste into either a pellet form or chips form before being used in our cogeneration plants.
Palm kernel is also a major source of feedstock for us. Any selective biomass and multi-waste we could dry up serve a source of feedstock for us.
We want to localize the biomass and waste preparation closer to the cogeneration units.
What is the main objective and how do you intend to achieve it?
The main objective is to provide sustainable energy solution that is available, clean, affordable and competitive in the market place. Sustainability is one of our major passions as we are an environmental conscious organisation.
Another main objective as an organisation for us is skill transfer, ability to provide employment and creating value added supply chain businesses to our operations.
Lastly, supporting farmer’s crop yields with our biochar. This is a carbon rich by-product from our incinerator.
Did you conduct any market survey? If yes, what were your findings and how has it helped in the development of the biomass power solution?
Particularly in Ghana we haven’t had any survey but what we are working with is the general knowledge of what is happening in Sub-Sahara and reports from the likes of EY, PwC and so on.
Looking into Ghana specifically, we will be working with relevant organisation to carry such out.
What is your target market?
Our market targets are organisations that would like to enjoy off-grid solution. We are working with various manufacturing companies, farmers, Hospitality & Leisure, Academic Institutions, Hospitals, agro-business, post harvest processing facilities, real estates and so on.
We are leveraging our friends from the United Kingdom, Department of International Trade (DIT) and together with the UK High Commission office to see how we can come into the Ghanaian market as a UK company.
What is required to enable the implementation of the biomass power solution?
Once off-takers have decided to be powered via biomass feedstock, if they generate their own wastes, we would come to assess these waste in other to ensure it is valuable for power generation. We also leverage on which biomass and wastes are readily and locally available. We also have feedstock supply chain by third parties. Due to the flexibility of our cogeneration unit, we could use blended feedstock i.e mix two or more biomass waste together.
We prepare this feedstock on ground, localize it, or bring it within the customer’s facility.
Off-takers can fully purchase the biomass cogenerating units outrightly or we could be a their energy supplier on a agreed tariff.
What advantage does biomass energy solution have over other means of producing energy?
We are sustainable and we add more value to the environment in terms of our carbon emission. When we combust our feedstock in our cogeneration unit plant, we get a particular waste that is called bio char (ash). It is a growth agent for plants, works like a fertilizer. We are a negative carbon emission company because we add more carbon to the eco-system.
What are your growth and expansion projection for Africa and beyond in terms of energy?
We are growing our supply chains and we hope to see more off-grid off-takers. We would also increase our feedstock preparation strategy with local collaborations with micro-business as we increase our installations not only within Ghana but other Sub-Sahara countries. We would work hand in hand with commercial banks, international grants and other bespoke financial houses to materialize our client’s projects.
We are open for business and together with the right off-taker and the appropriate business model, we are expecting that within the next six months we will be ready to reach a close on the first project in Ghana.
In terms of cost, in comparison with production of hydroelectricity, or biogas. Which is more cost effective?
We cannot compete with hydro but our rates are very competitive to fossil fuels such as diesel generators. Our operating cost and maintenance cost is very reduced so we could pass the cost savings to our potential off-takers.